Feeding Dairy Cows with Maize Silage and its Effect in Milk Production and Milk Quality in Hai District
Keywords:Maize, Silage, Feeding, Cows, Milk
A feeding experiment involving 16 lactating improved dairy cows was conducted to test the hypothesis that feeding maize silage (at 25% and 50% inclusion level to (4±3) kg maize stover + green forages and (3±1) concentrates) fed/cow/day based on individual dairy cow requirements would increase milk yield and improve milk composition. The experiment comprised three sequential periods that differed only in the way maize silage was offered to cows (farmers practice without maize silage in the diet, 25% and 50% maize silage in the diets fed in the morning and evening). Intake of individual cows was measured using spring balance (50kg). Compared with farmers practice experiment period, milk yield and milk protein for 25% and 50% inclusion levels of maize silage fed to dairy cows increased significantly (p<0.0001) respectively. There was an average increase in milk production by 50% from 10 to 15 litres per day during the experiment. Neither milk fat content nor milk solid yield was affected (p>0.05) by treatment. The increase in milk yield and milk protein content was presumably associated with an improved diet nutrient balance in the 25% and 50% MS diets fed to dairy cows. In this study, higher-producing dairy cows compensated for their higher requirements by increasing intake of maize silage, rather than pasture, as the former was the less restricted feed on offer. This highlights the importance of offering maize silage to dairy cows with other feeds (maize stover and greed forages) in order to enable high-producing cows in the herd to attain their higher intake requirements. In conclusion, under the conditions of the present study, feeding concentrates to cows based on individual cow requirements increased milk solids yield at no extra cost.
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