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The particulate passage rate, nutrient composition and fermentation characteristics across gastrointestinal tracts in lactating dairy cows fed three different forage source diets

Wang, B., Gu, F. F., Huang, X. B., Liu, J. X.
Journal of animal physiology and animal nutrition 2018 v.102 no.4 pp. 861-868
Holstein, abomasum, absorption, acetates, alfalfa hay, butyrates, carbohydrates, cecum, colon, corn, corn silage, corn stover, dairy cows, detergents, digesta, duodenum, experimental diets, fermentation, forage, hindgut, lactating females, lactation, nutrient content, propionic acid, rectum, rice straw, rumen, rye, volatile fatty acids
This study was conducted to investigate the particulate passage rate, nutrient characteristics and fermentation parameters across the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) in lactating dairy cows fed cereal straws in comparison with alfalfa hay. Eighteen multiparous Holstein cows were randomly assigned to one of three experimental diets consisting of 55% concentrate, 15% corn silage and 30% different forage sources as follows (% of dry matter [DM]): (i) 23% alfalfa hay and 7% Chinese wild rye hay (AH); (ii) 30% corn stover (CS); and (iii) 30% rice straw (RS). The Cr‐mordanted corn silage‐neutral detergent fibre was used to estimate the passage flow at week 14. After 14‐week feeding, the animals were slaughtered to collect the gastrointestinal digesta. Dietary forage sources had little effect on the fractional passage rates in the rumen (range from 5.05 to 6.25%/hr) or hindgut (range from 4.49 to 5.24%/hr). Total volatile fatty acid (VFA) concentration in the caecum was highest, followed by the rumen, colon and rectum, and the lowest in the abomasum and duodenum, indicating that the large intestines, especially caecum, are the important positions for carbohydrate degradation. Greater proportion of propionate and butyrate and lower acetate were found in the AH compared to CS or RS in colon, but higher acetate in abomasum was found in the cows fed CS or RS compared to AH. In conclusion, cereal straw diets did not change the particulate passage rate in the rumen and hindgut which might be mainly due to the similar DM intake among these three diets. Different forage source diets significantly changed VFA proportion in the abomasum and colon, indicating the existence of different digestion or absorption rates in these tracts among the experimental diets.