This research paper describes the effect of partially replacing wheat with maize grain and canola meal on milk production and body condition changes in early lactation Holstein-Friesian dairy cows consuming a grass silage-based diet over an 83-d period. Two groups of 39 cows were stratified for age, parity, historical milk yield and days in milk (DIM), and offered one of two treatment diets. The first treatment (CON) reflected a typical diet used by Western Australian dairy producers in summer and comprised (kg DM/cow per d); 8 kg of annual ryegrass silage, 6 kg of crushed wheat (provided once daily in a mixed ration), 3·6 kg of crushed lupins (provided in the milking parlour in two daily portions) and ad libitum lucerne haylage. The second treatment diet (COMP) was identical except the 6 kg of crushed wheat was replaced by 6 kg of a more complex concentrate mix (27% crushed wheat, 34% maize grain and 37% canola meal). Lucerne haylage was provided independently in the paddock to all cows, and no pasture was available throughout the experiment. The COMP group had a greater mean overall daily intake (22·5 vs 20·4 kg DM/cow) and a higher energy corrected milk (ECM) yield (29·2 vs 27·1 kg/cow; P = 0·047) than the CON cows. The difference in overall intake was caused by a higher daily intake of lucerne haylage in COMP cows (4·5 vs 2·3 kg DM/cow). The CON group had a higher concentration of milk fat (42·1 vs 39·3 g/kg; P = 0·029) than COMP cows. Milk protein yield was greater in COMP cows (P < 0·021); however, milk fat yield was unaffected by treatment. It is concluded that partially replacing wheat with canola meal and maize grain in a grass silage-based diet increases voluntary DMI of conserved forage and consequently yields of ECM and milk protein.