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Effect on Production of Replacing Dietary Starch with Sucrose in Lactating Dairy Cows

Broderick, G.A., Luchini, N.D., Reynal, S.M., Varga, G.A., Ishler, V.A.
Journal of dairy science 2008 v.91 no.12 pp. 4801
dairy cows, lactation, dietary carbohydrate, starch, sucrose, milk yield, cow feeding, alfalfa silage, lactation stage, dry matter intake, milk fat percentage, milk composition, ammonia, volatile fatty acids, urine, excretion, urea, nitrogen, intestinal microorganisms, microbial activity, rumen fermentation, nitrogen metabolism
Replacing dietary starch with sugar has been reported to improve production in dairy cows. Two sets of 24 Holstein cows averaging 41 kg/d of milk were fed a covariate diet, blocked by days in milk, and randomly assigned in 2 phases to 4 groups of 6 cows each. Cows were fed experimental diets containing [dry matter (DM) basis]: 39% alfalfa silage, 21% corn silage, 21% rolled high-moisture shelled corn, 9% soybean meal, 2% fat, 1% vitamin-mineral supplement, 7.5% supplemental nonstructural carbohydrate, 16.7% crude protein, and 30% neutral detergent fiber. Nonstructural carbohydrates added to the 4 diets were 1) 7.5% corn starch, 0% sucrose; 2) 5.0% starch, 2.5% sucrose; 3) 2.5% starch, 5.0% sucrose; or 4) 0% starch, 7.5% sucrose. Cows were fed the experimental diets for 8 wk. There were linear increases in DM intake and milk fat content and yield, and linear decreases in ruminal concentrations of ammonia and branched-chain volatile fatty acids, and urinary excretion of urea-N and total N, and urinary urea-N as a proportion of total N, as sucrose replaced corn starch in the diet. Despite these changes, there was no effect of diet on microbial protein formation, estimated from total purine flow at the omasum or purine derivative excretion in the urine, and there were linear decreases in both milk/DM intake and milk N/N-intake when sucrose replaced dietary starch. However, expressing efficiency as fat-corrected milk/DM intake or solids-corrected milk/DM intake indicated that there was no effect of sucrose addition on nutrient utilization. Replacing dietary starch with sucrose increased fat secretion, apparently via increased energy supply because of greater intake. Positive responses normally correlated with improved ruminal N efficiency that were altered by sucrose feeding were not associated with increased protein secretion in this trial.