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Effects of stocking density and concentrate supplementation of grazing dairy cows on milk production, composition and processing characteristics

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 May 1999

BERNADETTE O'BRIEN
Affiliation:
Dairy Husbandry Department, Research and Development Centre, Teagasc, Moorepark, Fermoy, Co. Cork, Irish Republic
PATRICK DILLON
Affiliation:
Dairy Husbandry Department, Research and Development Centre, Teagasc, Moorepark, Fermoy, Co. Cork, Irish Republic
JOHN J. MURPHY
Affiliation:
Dairy Husbandry Department, Research and Development Centre, Teagasc, Moorepark, Fermoy, Co. Cork, Irish Republic
RAJ K. MEHRA
Affiliation:
Dairy Products Research Centre, Teagasc, Moorepark, Fermoy, Co. Cork, Irish Republic
TIMOTHY P. GUINEE
Affiliation:
Dairy Products Research Centre, Teagasc, Moorepark, Fermoy, Co. Cork, Irish Republic
JAMES F. CONNOLLY
Affiliation:
Dairy Products Research Centre, Teagasc, Moorepark, Fermoy, Co. Cork, Irish Republic
ALAN KELLY
Affiliation:
Department of Food Technology, University College, Cork, Irish Republic
PATRICK JOYCE
Affiliation:
Department of Zoology, University College, Dublin, Irish Republic

Abstract

The effects on milk composition and processing characteristics of varying grass supply by changing stocking density and of offering a concentrate supplement were investigated. The experiment was conducted over 28 weeks of the lactation (April–October) using 48 spring-calved Friesian–Holstein cows. Three herds each of 16 cows were offered a restricted grass supply, a standard grass supply and a standard grass supply with a supplement of 3 kg concentrate/d. Treatment groups were grazed separately with a residence time of 3 d/paddock. Milk production, composition and processing characteristics such as renneting properties, ethanol stability and plasmin activity were measured weekly. Increasing stocking density above the standard system resulted in significant reductions in milk fat and protein yields, the concentrations of total protein, casein and whey proteins, and a deterioration in most processing characteristics. Imposing concentrate supplementation on the standard system increased total protein, casein and whey protein concentrations but generally did not improve processing characteristics except for ethanol stability. These results suggest that the standard grass supply in a rotational grazing paddock system can support efficient production of quality milk, and concentrate supplementation will not improve processing characteristics when an adequate supply of good quality herbage is available.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Proprietors of Journal of Dairy Research 1999

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