Two experiments are described in which spring-calved Ayrshire cows were fed supplementary food when grazing good, leafy pasture.
In the first experiment 6 lb of a mixture of three parts bruised oats and one part flaked maize was fed daily to three groups of five cows. One group received the supplement from 1 July until 30 October, and the other two groups from 1 August and 1 September respectively. A control group received no supplement.
In no month was there any statistical difference in daily milk yield between supplemented and unsupplemented groups of cows. The group fed from 1 July gave the highest total milk yield in the period June to October, but with a return of only 1 gal of milk from 34 lb of meal.
The length of the lactation was not significantly affected by the treatment.
In the second experiment, three groups of four cows on a 9-week change-over trial (4 May-5 July) grazed herbage containing an average of only 17·6% dry matter and 3·8% crude fibre. On the three treatments the cows ate pasture only, pasture plus 1·6 lb hay/day and pasture plus 5·7 lb of meal/day. The meal consisted of four parts by weight of undecorticated cotton cake, four of bruised oats and three of locust beans.
Milk yield was significantly increased from 41·8 lb on the all-grass ration to 43·2 lb/day on the meal treatment but the hay did not affect milk yield.
The fat content of the milk was significantly increased from 3·77 to 3·91% on the hay treatment, whereas the solids-not-fat content of the milk was not significantly affected by any of the treatments.
At the present-day prices of the feeds and with cows on good leafy pasture it was clearly uneconomic to feed the meal supplements.