Jump to Main Content
Effect of concentrate feeding method on the performance of dairy cows in early to mid lactation
- Purcell, P.J., Law, R.A., Gordon, A.W., McGettrick, S.A., Ferris, C.P.
- Journal of dairy science 2016 v.99 no.4 pp. 2811-2824
- Holstein, blood, body condition, body weight, conception, corn silage, dairy cows, diet, early lactation, energy intake, feeding methods, grass silage, metabolites, metabolizable energy, milk fat yield, pellets, reproductive performance
- The objective of the current study was to determine the effects of concentrate feeding method on milk yield and composition, dry matter (DM) intake (DMI), body weight and body condition score, reproductive performance, energy balance, and blood metabolites of housed (i.e., accommodated indoors) dairy cows in early to mid lactation. Eighty-eight multiparous Holstein-Friesian cows were managed on 1 of 4 concentrate feeding methods (CFM; 22 cows per CFM) for the first 21 wk postpartum. Cows on all 4 CFM were offered grass silage plus maize silage (in a 70:30 ratio on a DM basis) ad libitum throughout the study. In addition, cows had a target concentrate allocation of 11kg/cow per day (from d 13 postpartum) via 1 of 4 CFM, consisting of (1) offered on a flat-rate basis via an out-of-parlor feeding system, (2) offered based on individual cow’s milk yields in early lactation via an out-of-parlor feeding system, (3) offered as part of a partial mixed ration (target intake of 5kg/cow per day) with additional concentrate offered based on individual cow’s milk yields in early lactation via an out-of-parlor feeding system, and (4) offered as part of a partial mixed ration containing a fixed quantity of concentrate for each cow in the group. In addition, all cows were offered 1kg/cow per day of concentrate pellets via an in-parlor feeding system. We detected no effect of CFM on concentrate or total DMI, mean daily milk yield, concentrations and yields of milk fat and protein, or metabolizable energy intakes, requirements, or balances throughout the study. We also found no effects of CFM on mean or final body weight, mean or final body condition score, conception rates to first service, or any of the blood metabolites examined. The results of this study suggest that CFM has little effect on the overall performance of higher-yielding dairy cows in early to mid lactation when offered diets based on conserved forages.