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Effects of dietary neutral detergent fibre to protein ratio on duodenal microbial nitrogen flow and nitrogen losses in lactating cows fed high-concentrate total mixed rations with different forage combinations

  • Q. C. REN (a1) (a2), X. JIN (a1), Z. H. ZHANG (a1), H. J. YANG (a1) and S. L. LI (a1)...

Summary

The objective of the present study was to investigate the effect of dietary neutral detergent fibre (NDF) : crude protein (CP) ratio on duodenal microbial crude protein (MCP) flow and nitrogen (N) losses. The study was completed in a 5 × 5 Latin square design with five lactating Holstein dairy cows and 5 high-concentrate total mixed rations (TMR) with different forage combinations, typical for Northern China. The rations with a fixed forage-to-concentrate ratio (39 : 61) resulted in different dietary NDF : CP ratios: TMR1 3·03 : 1 (428·2 g NDF/kg : 141·4 g CP/kg); TMR2 2·74 : 1 (392·7 g NDF/kg : 143·2 g CP/kg); TMR3 2·55 : 1 (368·3 g NDF/kg : 144·4 g CP/kg); TMR4 1·84 : 1 (304·8 g NDF/kg : 165·8 g CP/kg); TMR5 1·60 : 1 (285·0 g NDF/kg : 178·0 g CP/kg). Rumen content, milk, blood, urine and faeces were sampled on the last 3 days of five 18-day periods. Purine derivatives in the urine samples were determined to estimate rumen MCP flow into the small intestine. Milk yield and milk protein yield increased linearly with decreasing dietary NDF : CP ratio although slight differences in dry matter intake were observed due to feed intake restriction. Diurnal ammonia N in the rumen and duodenal MCP flow increased linearly, but blood urea N, urinary N and faecal N linearly decreased with decreasing dietary NDF : CP ratio. The enhanced N utilization in the maize-silage-based TMRs (TMR4–5) in comparison with maize-stover-based TMRs (TMR1–3) increased milk yield and the synthesis of milk protein instead of milk fat in the lactating cows, probably due to high transfer of ammonia N into rumen MCP with a considerable increase of dietary non-fibre carbohydrate content and the decrease of NDF : CP ratio. The present results indicate that not only increasing dietary non-structural carbohydrate content but also adjusting the ratio of structural carbohydrate to CP ratio are important diet formulation strategies for mitigating N losses in lactating cows.

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*To whom all correspondence should be addressed. Email: yang_hongjian@sina.com and lisheng0677@163.com

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