Comparison of grass and legume silages for milk production. 1. Production responses with different levels of concentrate

RJ Dewhurst, WJ Fisher, JKS Tweed, RJ Wilkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

207 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Silages prepared from pure stands of ryegrass, alfalfa, white clover, and red clover over two successive year were offered to lactating dairy cows in two feeding experiments. Proportional mixtures of all cuts prepared in a yr were used to ensure that the forage treatments were representative of the crop. Additional treatments involved mixtures of grass silage with either white clover silage or red clover silage (50/50, on a DM basis). Silages were prepared in round bales, using a biological inoculant additive, and wilting for up to 48 h. Although the legumes were less suited to silage-making than grass, because of their higher buffering capacity and lower water-soluble carbohydrate content, all silages were well-fermented. A standard concentrate was offered at a flat-rate (8 kg/d in yr 1, and 4 or 8 kg/d in yr 2). All of the legume silages led to higher DM intake and milk yields than for the grass silage, with little effect on milk composition. Intake and production responses to legumes were similar at the two levels of concentrate feeding and with forage mixtures they were intermediate to those for the separate forages. An additional benefit of the clover silages, particularly red clover silage, was the increase in levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids, particularly α-linolenic acid, in milk. Legume silages also led to a lower palmitic acid percentage in milk. The efficiency of conversion of feed N into milk N declined with increasing levels of legume silage. White clover silage led to a higher N-use efficiency when the effect of N intake level is taken into account.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2598-2611
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Volume86
Issue number8
Publication statusPrint publication - Aug 2003

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silage
milk production
legumes
concentrates
grasses
Trifolium pratense
Trifolium repens
grass silage
forage
milk
pure stands
buffering capacity
silage making
wilting
linolenic acid
carbohydrate content
milk composition
Lolium
palmitic acid
polyunsaturated fatty acids

Cite this

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title = "Comparison of grass and legume silages for milk production. 1. Production responses with different levels of concentrate",
abstract = "Silages prepared from pure stands of ryegrass, alfalfa, white clover, and red clover over two successive year were offered to lactating dairy cows in two feeding experiments. Proportional mixtures of all cuts prepared in a yr were used to ensure that the forage treatments were representative of the crop. Additional treatments involved mixtures of grass silage with either white clover silage or red clover silage (50/50, on a DM basis). Silages were prepared in round bales, using a biological inoculant additive, and wilting for up to 48 h. Although the legumes were less suited to silage-making than grass, because of their higher buffering capacity and lower water-soluble carbohydrate content, all silages were well-fermented. A standard concentrate was offered at a flat-rate (8 kg/d in yr 1, and 4 or 8 kg/d in yr 2). All of the legume silages led to higher DM intake and milk yields than for the grass silage, with little effect on milk composition. Intake and production responses to legumes were similar at the two levels of concentrate feeding and with forage mixtures they were intermediate to those for the separate forages. An additional benefit of the clover silages, particularly red clover silage, was the increase in levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids, particularly α-linolenic acid, in milk. Legume silages also led to a lower palmitic acid percentage in milk. The efficiency of conversion of feed N into milk N declined with increasing levels of legume silage. White clover silage led to a higher N-use efficiency when the effect of N intake level is taken into account.",
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Comparison of grass and legume silages for milk production. 1. Production responses with different levels of concentrate. / Dewhurst, RJ; Fisher, WJ; Tweed, JKS; Wilkins, RJ.

In: Journal of Dairy Science, Vol. 86, No. 8, 08.2003, p. 2598-2611.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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AU - Wilkins, RJ

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