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The performance of dairy cows with access to self-feed silage offered concentrates from a free-access dispenser

  • J. S. Chalmers (a1), F. R. Moisey (a1) and J. D. Leaver (a1)

Abstract

In two experiments cows with access to self-feed grass silage were offered concentrates either twice daily in the milking parlour at a fixed level (controls) or in addition given free-access to a concentrate dispenser sited in the self-feed area (dispenser). A time-lapse mechanism on the dispenser limited successive 1 kg feeds to a minimum of 10 min in experiment 1 and 5 min in experiment 2. The ‘dispenser’ cows had significantly greater total concentrate intakes than had the controls (10·4 v. 7·1 kg/day in experiment 1, 13·4 v. 7·3 kg/day in experiment 2), but there was a large variation in intake between individuals. Access to the dispenser increased milk yields only slightly, reduced milk fat concentration and increased milk protein concentration and live-weight gain. Following turnout to grass in the spring, there was evidence that the cows that had been on the dispenser treatment showed a faster rate of decline in milk yield than did the controls, and this was supported by lower lactation yields in the dispenser group.

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The performance of dairy cows with access to self-feed silage offered concentrates from a free-access dispenser

  • J. S. Chalmers (a1), F. R. Moisey (a1) and J. D. Leaver (a1)

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