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South African Journal of Animal Science

Print version ISSN 0375-1589

Abstract

AFZALZADEH, A.; RAFIEE, H.; KHADEM, A.A.  and  ASADI, A.. Effects of ratios of non-fibre carbohydrates to rumen degradable protein in diets of Holstein cows: 1. Feed intake, digestibility and milk production. S. Afr. j. anim. sci. [online]. 2010, vol.40, n.3, pp. 204-212. ISSN 0375-1589.

To evaluate the effect of different ratios of non-fibre carbohydrates (NFC) to rumen degradable protein (RDP) on lactation responses, digestion and dry matter intake (DMI), nine multiparous mid-lactation Holstein cows, averaging 171 ± 17 days in milk and 24.1 ± 3.3 kg of milk/d were assigned to a 3 × 3 Latin square design. The total mixed rations (TMR) included 45% forage on a dry matter (DM) basis and 55% concentrates. The RDP (g/kg of DM) and NFC : RDP ratios of diets were respectively: 1) 98 and 4.10 (LRDP), 2) 108 and 3.71 (MRDP), 3) 118 and 3.34 (HRDP). Ratios were achieved through altering the RDP content of the diets while the NFC was held constant at 401 g/kg of DM. Urea was supplemented as a source of RDP to decrease the ratio. DMI and organic matter intake (OMI) were affected by treatment and tended to decrease linearly from LRDP to HRDP. Crude protein intake (CPI) increased linearly as the amount of RDP in the diets increased. Apparent organic matter digestion in the total tract decreased significantly in the HRDP diet. Percentage of protein and solid non-fat (SNF) and concentration of milk urea-nitrogen (MUN) in milk increased linearly when cows were fed diets with the higher amounts of RDP. Results showed that low producing cows are less likely to respond to altering NFC : RDP ratios than high producing cows, but digestibility in the MRDP treatment was higher and RDP level equal to 108 (g/kg of DM). A NFC : RDP ratio equal to 3.71 was useful and recommendable for mid-lactation dairy cow.

Keywords : Dairy cows; milk production; non-fibre carbohydrates; rumen degradable protein.

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