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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

Evaluation of production parameters, feed sorting behaviour and social interactions in dairy cows: Comparison of two total mixed rations with different particle size and water content

Kronqvist, Cecilia; Petters, Frida; Robertsson, Ulrica; Lindberg, Mikaela;

Abstract

Dairy cow performance is affected by both the nutritional composition and the physical structure of the diet. The structure of total mixed rations (TMR) largely depends on the ingredient composition and structure of forage, dry matter (DM) content, mixing time and type of mixer used. This study investigated feed intake, eating time, milk production, DM digestibility, ruminal pH, time budget, and sorting and antagonistic behaviours in lactating dairy cows fed grass/clover silage and concentrate, either in a TMR or in a compact total mixed ration (CTMR) with decreased particle size and DM content due to addition of water. Two cross-over experiments (3-week periods), each involving 40 lactating dairy cows of the Swedish Red and Holstein breeds, were run simultaneously. Experiment 1 was designed to measure production parameters, feed digestibility and ruminal pH, while Experiment 2 was designed to measure time budget, feed sorting behaviours and antagonistic behaviours at the feed bunk. Diets were fed ad libitum, with the same ingredient composition and a forage:concentrate ratio of 60:40 (DM basis). Decreased particle size in the CTMR diet was achieved by mixing the grass-clover silage in a feed mixer with a vertical auger with knives, before mixing with concentrate in a feed mixer without knives. Decreased DM content in CTMR was achieved by adding water to the mix. Mean DM content of the diet was 51% DM for TMR and 37% DM for CTMR. The results showed lower daily DM intake (26.7 kg DM) and shorter eating time (242 min) in cows fed CTMR than in cows fed TMR (28.5 kg DM and 278 min). Feed digestibility, ruminal pH, daily milk yield (35.1 kg and 35.8 kg for CTMR and TMR, respectively) and milk composition did not differ between the diets. Cows fed CTMR showed less sorting and fewer antagonistic behaviours at feeding than cows fed TMR. The daily time budget of the cows also differed, with cows fed CTMR spending more time resting (+45 min) than cows fed TMR.

Keywords

TMR; Compact TMR; Behaviour; Dairy cattle; Dry matter intake; Time budget

Published in

Livestock Science

2021, volume: 251, article number: 104662
Publisher: ELSEVIER

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Animal Nutrition and Management
Petters, Frida
No organisation
Robertsson, Ulrica
No organisation
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Animal Nutrition and Management

UKÄ Subject classification

Animal and Dairy Science

Publication Identifiers

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.livsci.2021.104662

URI (permanent link to this page)

https://res.slu.se/id/publ/113482