Skip to main content Accessibility help

Effect of timing of corn silage supplementation to Holstein dairy cows given limited daily access to pasture: intake and performance

  • D. A. Mattiauda (a1), M. J. Gibb (a2), M. Carriquiry (a3), S. Tamminga (a4) and P. Chilibroste (a1)...


The timing in which supplements are provided in grazing systems can affect dry matter (DM) intake and productive performance. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of timing of corn silage supplementation on ingestive behaviour, DM intake, milk yield and composition in grazing dairy cows. In total, 33 Holstein dairy cows in a randomized block design grazed on a second-year mixed grass–legume pasture from 0900 to 1500 h and received 2.7 kg of a commercial supplement at each milking. Paddock sizes were adjusted to provide a daily herbage allowance of 15 kg DM/cow determined at ground level. The three treatments imposed each provided 3.8 kg DM/day of corn silage offered in a single meal at 0800 h (Treatment AM), equally distributed in two meals 0800 and 1700 h (Treatment AM-PM) or a single meal at 1700 h (Treatment PM). The experiment was carried out during the late autumn and early winter period, with 1 week of adaptation and 6 weeks of measurements. There were no differences between treatments in milk yield, but 4% fat-corrected milk yield tended to be greater in AM-PM than in AM cows, which did not differ from PM (23.7, 25.3 and 24.6±0.84 kg/day for AM, AM-PM and PM, respectively). Fat percentage and yield were greater for AM-PM than for AM cows and intermediate for PM cows (3.89 v. 3.66±0.072% and 1.00 v. 0.92±0.035 kg/day, respectively). Offering corn silage in two meals had an effect on herbage DM intake which was greater for AM-PM than AM cows and was intermediate in PM cows (8.5, 11.0 and 10.3±0.68 kg/day for AM, AM-PM and PM, respectively). During the 6-h period at pasture, the overall proportion of observations on which cows were grazing tended to be different between treatments and a clear grazing pattern along the grazing session (1-h observation period) was identified. During the time at pasture, the proportion of observations during which cows ruminated was positively correlated with the DM intake of corn silage immediately before turn out to pasture. The treatment effects on herbage DM intake did not sufficiently explain differences in productive performance. This suggests that the timing of the corn silage supplementation affected rumen kinetics and likewise the appearance of hunger and satiety signals as indicated by observed changes in temporal patterns of grazing and ruminating activities.


Corresponding author



Hide All
Al-Marashdeh, O, Gregorini, P and Edwards, GR 2016. Effect of time of maize silage supplementation on herbage intake, milk production, and nitrogen excretion of grazing dairy cows. Journal of Dairy Science 99, 71237132.
Association of Official Analytical Chemists 1990. Official methods of analysis, 15th edition. AOAC, Arlington, VA, USA.
Armstrong, DP, Tarrant, KA, Ho, CKM, Malcolm, LR and Wales, WJ 2010. Evaluating development options for a rain-fed dairy farm in Gippsland. Animal Production Science 50, 363370.
Bargo, F, Muller, LD, Kolver, ES and Delahoy, JE 2003. Invited review: production and digestion of supplemented dairy cows on pasture. Journal of Dairy Science 86, 142.
Coates, DB and Penning, P 2000. Measuring animal performance. In Field and laboratory methods for grassland and animal production research (ed. L `tMannetje and RM Jones), pp. 353402. CABI Publishing, Wallingford, UK.
Chilibroste, P, Dijkstra, J, Robinson, PH and Tamminga, S 2008. A simulation model ‘CTR Dairy’ to predict the supply of nutrients in dairy cows managed under discontinuous feeding patterns. Animal Feed Science and Technology 143, 148173.
Chilibroste, P, Gibb, MJ, Soca, P and Mattiauda, DA 2015. Behavioural adaptation of grazing dairy cows to changes in feeding management: Do they follow a predictable pattern? Animal Production Science 55, 328338.
Chilibroste, P, Gibb, MJ and Tamminga, S 2005. Pasture characteristics and animal performance. In Quantitative aspects of ruminant digestion and metabolism (ed. J Dijkstra, JM Forbes and J France), pp. 681706. CABI Publishing, Wallington, UK.
Chilibroste, P, Mattiauda, DA, Bentancur, O, Soca, P and Meikle, A 2012. Effect of herbage allowance on grazing behavior and productive performance of early lactation primiparous Holstein cows. Animal Feed Science and Technology 173, 201209.
Chilibroste, P, Soca, P, Mattiauda, DA, Bentancur, O and Robinson, PH 2007. Short term fasting as a tool to design effective grazing strategies for lactating dairy cattle: a review. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture 47, 10751084.
Chilibroste, P, Tamminga, S, Boer, H, Gibb, MJ and den Dikken, G 2000. Duration of regrowth of ryegrass (Lolium perenne) effects on grazing behavior, intake, rumen fill, and fermentation of lactating dairy cows. Journal of Dairy Science 83, 984995.
Dove, H and Mayes, RW 2006. Protocol for the analysis of n-alkanes and other plant-wax compounds and for their use as markers for quantifying the nutrient supply of large mammalian herbivores. Nature Protocols 1, 16801697.
Edmonson, A, Lean, I, Weaver, L, Farver, T and Webster, G 1989. A body condition scoring chart for Holstein dairy cows. Journal of Dairy Science 72, 6878.
Gekara, OJ, Prigge, EC, Bryan, WB, Nestor, EL and Seidel, G 2005. Influence of sward height, daily timing of concentrate supplementation, and restricted time for grazing on forage utilization by lactating beef cows. Journal of Animal Science 83, 14351444.
Gibb, MJ 2006. Grassland management with emphasis on grazing behaviour. In Fresh herbage for dairy cattle (ed. A Elgersma, J Dijkstra and S Tamminga), pp. 141157. Springer, Dordrecht, The Netherlands.
Gibb, MJ, Huckle, CA and Nuthall, R 1998. Effect of time of day on grazing behaviour by lactating dairy cows. Grass and Forage Science 53, 4146.
Gibb, MJ, Huckle, CA and Nuthall, R 2000. Effect of temporal pattern of supplementation on grazing behaviour and herbage intake by dairy cows. In Grazing management: the principles and practice of grazing, for profit and environmental gain, within temperate grassland systems (ed. AJ Rook and PD Penning), pp. 9196. British Grassland Society, Reading, UK.
Gibb, MJ, Huckle, CA, Nuthall, R and Rook, AJ 1999. The effect of physiological state (lactating or dry) and sward surface height on grazing behaviour and intake by dairy cows. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 63, 269287.
Gregorini, P 2012. Diurnal grazing pattern: its physiological basis and strategic management. Animal Production Science 52, 416430.
Gregorini, P, Clark, CEF, Jago, JG, Glassey, CB, McLeod, KLM and Romera, J 2009. Restricting time at pasture: effects on dairy cow herbage intake, foraging behavior, hunger-related hormones, and metabolite concentration during the first grazing session. Journal of Dairy Science 92, 45724580.
Gregorini, P, Gunter, SA, Masino, CA and Beck, PA 2007. Effects of ruminal fill on short-term herbage intake rate and grazing dynamics of beef heifers. Grass and Forage Science 62, 346354.
Gregorini, P, Soder, KJ and Waghorn, G 2010. Effects of timing of corn silage supplementation on digestion, fermentation pattern, and nutrient flow during continuous culture fermentation of a short and intensive orchardgrass meal. Journal of Dairy Science 93, 37223729.
Haydock, K and Shaw, N 1975. The comparative yield method for estimating dry matter yield of pasture. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture 15, 663670.
Hills, JL, Wales, WJ, Dunshea, FR, Garcia, SC and Roche, JR 2015. Invited review: an evaluation of the likely effects of individualized feeding of concentrate supplements to pasture-based dairy cows. Journal of Dairy Science 98, 13631401.
Hodgson, J 1985. The control of herbage intake in the grazing ruminant. Proceedings of Nutrition Society 44, 339346.
Mattiauda, DA, Tamminga, S, Gibb, MJ, Soca, P, Bentancur, O and Chilibroste, P 2013. Restricting access time at pasture and time of grazing allocation for Holstein dairy cows: ingestive behaviour, dry matter intake and milk production. Livestock Science 152, 5362.
Meikle, A, Adrien, ML, Mattiauda, DA and Chilibroste, P 2013. Effect of sward condition on metabolic endocrinology during the early postpartum period in primiparous grazing dairy cows and its association with productive and reproductive performance. Animal Feed Science and Technology 186, 139147.
Mitani, T, Takahashi, M, Ueda, K, Nakatsuji, H, Kondo, S and Okubo, M 2005. Effects of supplementary corn silage on the feed intake and milk production of time-restricted grazing dairy cows. Animal Science Journal 76, 331337.
National Research Council (NRC) 2001. Nutrient requirements of dairy cattle, 7th revised edition. National Academic Science, Washington, DC, USA.
Pérez-Prieto, LA, Peyraud, JL and Delagarde, R 2011. Substitution rate and milk yield response to corn silage supplementation of late-lactation dairy cows grazing low-mass pastures at 2 daily allowances in autumn. Journal of Dairy Science 94, 35923604.
Peyraud, JL and Delagarde, R 2013. Managing variations in dairy cow nutrient supply under grazing. Animal 7, 5767.
Pulido, RG, Muñoz, R, Lemarie, P, Wittwer, F, Orellana, P and Waghorn, GC 2009. Impact of increasing grain feeding frequency on production of dairy cows grazing pasture. Livestock Science 125, 109114.
Sheahan, AJ, Gibbs, SJ and Roche, JR 2013. Timing of supplementation alters grazing behavior and milk production response in dairy cows. Journal of Dairy Science 96, 477483.
Sheahan, AJ, Kolver, ES and Roche, JR 2011. Genetic strain and diet effects on grazing behavior, pasture intake, and milk production. Journal of Dairy Science 94, 35833591.
Smit, H, Taweel, HZ, Tas, BM, Tamminga, S and Elgersma, A 2005. Comparison of techniques for estimating herbage intake of grazing dairy cows. Journal of Dairy Science 88, 18271836.
Taweel, HZ, Tas, BM, Dijkstra, J and Tamminga, S 2004. Intake regulation and grazing behavior of dairy cows under continuous stocking. Journal of Dairy Science 87, 34173427.
Tilley, JMA and Terry, RA 1963. A two-stage technique for the in vitro digestion of forage crops. Journal of British Grassland Society 18, 104111.
Trevaskis, LM, Fulkerson, WJ and Nandra, KS 2004. Effect of time of feeding carbohydrate supplements and pasture on production of dairy cows. Livestestock Production Science 85, 275285.



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed