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Effects of pasture allowance on milk production of dairy cows offered increasing amounts of partial mixed rations in spring

Auldist, M. J., Wright, M. M., Marett, L. C., Jacobs, J. L., Wales, W. J.
Animal production science 2017 v.57 no.7 pp. 1305-1310
Holstein, Lolium, alfalfa hay, canola meal, corn, dairy cows, dairy protein, farmers, grazing, lactation, milk, milk fat, milk production, pastures, spring, wheat
Milk production was measured in Holstein–Friesian cows offered low, medium or high allowances of ryegrass pasture (15, 25 or 40 kg DM/ to ground level) and receiving different amounts of supplement (6, 10, 12 or 14 kg DM/ as a partial mixed ration (PMR). The 27-day experiment was conducted in spring when cows were 45 ± 17.3 days in milk (mean ± s.d.). Two groups of six cows received each of the 12 combinations of pasture allowance and PMR amount. The PMR comprised wheat grain (38%, DM basis), maize grain (18%), lucerne hay (22%) and canola meal (22%). When 6 kg DM PMR/ was offered, cows grazing the low allowance produced less milk and energy-corrected milk than did cows grazing the medium and high allowances. There was no effect of pasture allowance on production of milk or energy-corrected milk at any other amount of PMR offered. When cows were offered 14 kg DM PMR/, milk fat concentrations were lower for cows grazing the high pasture allowance than for cows grazing the medium allowance. There were no differences in milk fat concentrations between cows grazing the different pasture allowances at any other amount of PMR offered. When cows were offered 6 kg DM PMR/, cows grazing the low pasture allowance yielded less milk fat than did cows grazing the medium pasture allowance. Cows grazing the high allowance had greater concentrations and yields of milk protein than did cows grazing the low allowance at all amounts of PMR offered, while cows grazing the medium allowance yielded more milk protein at some amounts of PMR. Pasture utilisation decreased with increases in both pasture allowance and amount of PMR. These results will enable farmers to better optimise feeding systems that combine both pasture and PMR.