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Effects of level of concentrate supplementation on grazing behaviour and performance by lactating dairy cows grazing continuously stocked grass swards

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 August 2016

M. J. Gibb*
Affiliation:
Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research, North Wyke, Okehampton, Devon EX20 2SB, UK
C. A. Huckle
Affiliation:
Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research, North Wyke, Okehampton, Devon EX20 2SB, UK
R. Nuthall
Affiliation:
Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research, North Wyke, Okehampton, Devon EX20 2SB, UK
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Abstract

The effect of level of concentrate supplementation on the grazing behaviour of lactating Holstein-Friesian cows was examined over three periods on continuously stocked grass swards maintained between 7 and 8 cm sward surface height (SSH). A dairy concentrate containing 180 g crude protein per kg fresh weight was offered at 0, 1·2, 2·4, 3·6, 4·8 or 6·0 kg fresh weight per day in two equal feeds during milking. Grazing and ruminating behaviour was recorded automatically over 24 h using sensors to measure jaw movements. Intake rates were calculated by weighing cows before and after approximately 1 h of grazing, retaining the faeces and urine excreted and applying a correction for insensible weight loss. Details of jaw movements were also recorded during these grazing periods. Level of supplementation did not significantly affect short-term intake rate of herbage or total eating time during grazing over the day, which varied between 15 and 21 g organic matter per min and between 530 and 600 min/day respectively. Supplementation had no effect on ruminating behaviour. Increasing the level of supplementation produced a significant linear increase in milk yield. The results show that at the level of grass intake achieved on continuously stocked swards maintained at 7 to 8 cm SSH, daily intake of up to 6 kg concentrates does not significantly affect grazing behaviour or lead to substitution of the grazed herbage.

Type
Ruminant nutrition, behaviour and production
Copyright
Copyright © British Society of Animal Science 2002

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