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Effect of rumen fill on intake of fresh perennial ryegrass in young and mature dairy cows grazing or zero-grazing fresh perennial ryegrass

  • A. Boudon (a1) (a2), J.-L. Peyraud (a1) (a2), P. Faverdin (a1) (a2), R. Delagarde (a1) (a2), L. Delaby (a1) (a2) and A. V. Chaves (a1) (a2)...

Abstract

Rumen fill may be a strong intake constraint for dairy cows fed on pasture, even though pasture is highly digestible in the grasslands of temperate climates. This constraint may also depend on the cows’ maturity. Moreover, indoor feeding of fresh herbage may not always be a good model for the study of intake regulation at grazing. To test these hypotheses, four mature (6.3 ± 0.72 year old) and four young (3.8 ± 0.20 year old) dairy cows were offered fresh perennial ryegrass indoors or at grazing. The impact of rumen fill on intake was evaluated by addition of rumen inert bulk (RIB; coconut fiber, 15 l) compared to a control. The experimental design was a double 4 × 4 Latin square with four 14-day periods and a 2 × 2 factorial arrangement of two feeding methods (indoor feeding v. grazing), combined with the addition, or not, of RIB (RIB v. control), repeated for four mature and four young cows. Digestibility of offered herbage was 0.81. The average ytterbium measured dry matter intake (Yb DMI) was 19.0 and 15.5 kg/day for mature and young cows respectively (P = 0.019). The effect of RIB on predicted Yb DMI interacted with feeding method and cow age (P = 0.043). The presence of RIB decreased Yb DMI by 4.4 kg/day in mature cows at grazing and by 3.4 kg/day in young cows indoors, whereas it did not affect the Yb DMI of mature cows indoors or grazing young cows. Both grazing and young age constituted a clear constraint on the feeding behavior of the cows. Grazing cows had fewer ingestion and rumination sequences, which were longer and less evenly distributed throughout the day and night. Young cows had lower intake rates that were less adaptable to the feeding method and the presence of RIB. Mature cows clearly decreased their daily intake rate at grazing compared to indoor feeding, and with RIB compared to control, whereas the intake rate of young cows did not vary. These results indicate that rumen fill can represent a constraint on intake in grazing cows, even when highly digestible perennial ryegrass is offered. The study also shows that the impact of RIB on intake is highly dependent upon other constraints applied to the chewing behavior, which in this experiment were methods of offering herbage and cow age.

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Keywords

Effect of rumen fill on intake of fresh perennial ryegrass in young and mature dairy cows grazing or zero-grazing fresh perennial ryegrass

  • A. Boudon (a1) (a2), J.-L. Peyraud (a1) (a2), P. Faverdin (a1) (a2), R. Delagarde (a1) (a2), L. Delaby (a1) (a2) and A. V. Chaves (a1) (a2)...

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