Effects of Forage Sources on Rumen Fermentation Characteristics, Performance, and Microbial Protein Synthesis in Midlactation Cows

  • Xua, Jun (College of Animal Science and Technology, Yangzhou University) ;
  • Houa, Yujie (College of Animal Science and Technology, Yangzhou University) ;
  • Yang, Hongbo (College of Animal Science and Technology, Yangzhou University) ;
  • Shi, Renhuang (College of Animal Science and Technology, Yangzhou University) ;
  • Wu, Caixia (College of Animal Science and Technology, Yangzhou University) ;
  • Huo, Yongjiu (College of Animal Science and Technology, Yangzhou University) ;
  • Zhao, Guoqi (College of Animal Science and Technology, Yangzhou University)
  • Received : 2013.09.27
  • Accepted : 2014.01.12
  • Published : 2014.05.01


Eight multiparous Holstein cows ($632{\pm}12$ kg BW; $135{\pm}16$ DIM) were used in a replicated $4{\times}4$ Latin square design to evaluate the effects of forage sources on rumen fermentation characteristics, performance, and microbial protein (MCP) synthesis. The forage portion of the diets contained alfalfa hay (AH), oat hay (OH), Leymus chinensis (LC), or rice straw (RS) as the primary source of fiber. Diets were isonitrogenous and isocaloric, and cows were fed four corn silages based total mixed rations with equivalent nonfiber carbohydrate (NFC) and forage neutral detergent fiber (NDF). Dry matter intake was not affected by the source of dietary forages, ranging from 18.83 to 19.20 kg/d, consequently, milk yield was similar among diets. Because of the numerical differences in milk fat and milk protein concentrations, 4% FCM and ECM yields were unchanged (p>0.05). Mean rumen pH, NH3-N content, and concentrations of volatile fatty acids in the rumen fluid were not affected by the treatments (p>0.05). Dietary treatments did not affect the total tract apparent digestibility of dry matter, organic matter, and crude protein (p>0.05); however, digestibility of NDF and acid detergent fiber in RS diet was higher compared with AH, OH, and LC diets (p<0.05). Total purine derivative excretion was higher in cows fed AH, OH, and LC diets compared with those fed RS diet (p<0.05), consequently, estimated MCP synthesis was 124.35 g/d higher in cows fed AH diet compared with those fed RS diet (p<0.05). The results indicated that cows fed AH, OH, LC, and RS diets with an equivalent forage NDF and NFC have no unfavourable effect on the ruminal fermentation and productive parameters.


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