Effect of Concentrate Feeding Frequency versus Total Mixed Ration on Lactational Performance and Ruminal Characteristics of Holstein Cows

  • Fan, Yang-Kwang (Department of Animal Science, National Chung-Hsing University) ;
  • Lin, Yaun-Lung (Department of Animal Science, National Chung-Hsing University) ;
  • Chen, Kuen-Jaw (Livestock Research Institute of Council of Agriculture) ;
  • Chiou, Peter Wen-Shyg (Department of Animal Science, National Chung-Hsing University)
  • Received : 2001.05.17
  • Accepted : 2001.12.21
  • Published : 2002.05.01


This study was conducted to determine a proper feeding regime for lactating Holstein cows during the warm season in Taiwan. In Feeding Trial, 21 lactating Holstein cows were randomly allotted into three feeding regimes in a Completely Randomized Design. The feeding regimes were roughage fed ad libitum along with concentrate fed either twice daily (2C) or four times daily (4C), and total mixed ration (TMR) for 8 weeks. No significant differences among the three feeding regimes were found in body weight changes, and intakes in terms of dry matter, crude protein and net energy. For milk yield and 4% FCM yield, 4C were higher than the other two feeding regimes (p<0.05). No significant differences were found in milk compositions or differences noted in the yields of the respective milk components. TMR was worse than 2C and 4C (p<0.05) in milk production efficiencies in terms of dry matter intake per kg milk yield, crude protein intake per kg milk protein yield, as well as dry matter intake, net energy intake and crude protein intake per kg 4% FCM yield. Three ruminally fistulated Holstein dry cows were randomly assigned into the same three feeding regimes in a 3${\times}$3 Latin Square Design. No significant differences were found among the feeding regimes in ruminal pH, ammonia nitrogen, total VFA concentration, molar percentages of VFA, and acetic acid: propionic acid ratio (C$_2$/C$_3$). Taken all together, roughage fed ad libitum and concentrate fed four times daily was the better feeding regime for lactating cows during the warm season in Taiwan.


  1. Bartley, E. A., A. Davidovich, G. W. Barr, G. W. Griffel, A. D. Dayton, C. W. Deyoe and R. M. Bechtel. 1976. Ammonia toxicity in cattle. I. Rumen and blood changes associated with toxicity and treatment meyhods. J. Anim. Sci. 43:835.
  2. Church, D. C. 1979. Digestive physiology and nutrition of ruminants. Vol. I-Digestive physiology. 2nd Ed. pp. 166-311.
  3. French. N., G. DeBoer and J. J. Kennelly. 1990. Effects of feeding frequency and exogenous somatotropin on lipolysis, hormone profiles, and milk production in dairy cows. J. Dairy Sci. 73:1552-1559.
  4. Moe, P. W., H. F. Tyrrell and W. P. Flatt. 1970. Energetics of body tissue mobilization. J. Dairy Sci. 54:548-553.
  5. Nocek, J. E. and D. G. Braund. 1985. Effect of feeding frequency on diurnal dry matter and water consumption, liquid dilution rate, and milk yield in first lactation. J. Dairy Sci. 68:2238-2247.
  6. Sato, H., Y. Kudo, K. Takeshita and T. Mishima. 1987a. Effects of feeding frequency using computer controlled concentrate feeder on the eating behaviour of lactaring dairy cows housed in free stall barns. Jpn. J. Zootech. Sci. 58:216-221.
  7. Satter, L. D. and L. L. Slyter. 1974. Effect of amminia concentration on rumen microbial protein production in vitro. Br. J. Nutr. 32:199-208.
  8. Sutton, J. D., W. H. Broster, D. J. Napper and J. W. Siviter. 1985. Feeding frequency for lactating cows: effects on digestion, milk production and energy utilization. Br. J. Nutr. 53:117-130.
  9. Gengler, W. R., F. A. Martz and H. D. Johnson. 1970. Effect of temperature on food water intake and rumen fermentation. J. Dairy Sci. 53:434-437.
  10. National Academy Science. 1981. Effect of environment on nutrient requirements of domestic animals. National Academy Press, Washington, DC. p. 76(Abstr.).
  11. Baxter, H. D., J. R. Owen, M. J. Montgomery, C. H. Gordon and J. T. Miles. 1972. Comparison of corn silage and concentrates fed separately and mixed as a complete ration. J. Dairy Sci. 55:398.
  12. Chaney, A. L. and E. P. Marbach. 1962. Modified reagents for determination of urea and ammonia. Clinical Chem. 8:130-132.
  13. Hsu, C. T. and Y. C. Lee. 1995. Relation of feeding frequency and production performance of dairy cows. Sci. Agric. 43:300-305. (In China)
  14. McCullough, M. 1991. Feeding strategies for the dairy herd require careful selection. Feedstuffs. November 18:14-50.
  15. Erwin, E. S., G. J. Marco and E. M. Emery. 1961. Volatile fatty acid analysis of blood and rumen fluid by gas chromatography. J. Dairy Sci. 44:1768-1770.
  16. Giesecke, D., L. Ehrentreich and M. Stangassinger. 1994. Mammary and renal excretion of purine metabolites in relation to energy intake and milk yield in dairy cows. J. Dairy Sci. 77:2376-2381.
  17. National Academy Science. 1989. Nutrient Requirements of Dairy Cattle. National Academy Press, Washington, DC.
  18. Johnson, H. D. and W. J. Vanjonack. 1976. Effects of environmental and other stressor on blood patterns in lactating animals. J. Dairy Sci. 59:1603-1617.
  19. Van Soest, P. J., J. B. Robertson and B. A. Lewis. 1991. Methods for dietary fiber, neutral detergent fiber, and nonstarch polysaccharides in relation to animal nutrition. J. Dairy Sci. 74:3583-3597.
  20. Sato, H., Y. Kudo, T. Mishima and K. Kashiwagi. 1987b. Effects of feeding methods on ruminal fermentation, blood metabolite levels and eating behariour in lactating dairy cows. Jpn. J. Zootech. Sci. 58:461-466.
  21. Bunting, L. D., M. D. Howard, R. B. Muntifering, K. A. Dawson and J. A. Boling. 1987. Effect of feeding frequency on forage fiber and nitrogen utilization in sheep. J. Anim. Sci. 64:1170-1177.
  22. AOAC. 1984. Official methods of analysis. 14th edn. Association of Official Analytical Chemists. Washington, DC. p. 16.
  23. SAS Institute Inc. 1985. SAS User's Guide: Statistics (Version 5). SAS Institute, Cary, NC.
  24. Cecava, M. J., N. R. Merchen, L. L. Berger and D. R. Nelson. 1990. Effect of energy level and feeding frequency on site of digestion and postruminalnutrient flows in steers. J. Dairy Sci. 73:2470-2479.
  25. Rumsey, T. S., P. A. Putnam, J. Bond and R. R. Oltjen. 1970. Influence of level and type of diet on ruminal pH and VFA, respiratory rate and EKG patterns of steers. J. Anim. Sci. 31:608-616.
  26. Bath, I. H. and J. A. F. Rook. 1963. The evaluation of cattle foods and diets in terms of the ruminal concentration of volatile fatty acids. I. The effects of level of intake, frequency of feeding, the ratio of hay to concentrates in the diet, and of supplementary feeds. J. Agric. Sci. 61:341-348.

Cited by

  1. Feeding measures to reduce nitrogen excretion in dairy cattle vol.63, pp.2, 2009,
  2. Milk yield, gross composition and fatty acid profile of dual-purpose Aosta Red Pied cows fed separate concentrate-forage versus total mixed ration vol.85, pp.1, 2013,