- Cornell University
Huhtanen, P.; Rinne, M.; Nousiainen, J.
A meta-analysis based on published experiments with lactating dairy cows fed mainly grass silage-based diets was conducted to study the effects of intake, diet composition, and digestibility at a maintenance level of feeding on the apparent total diet digestibility. A data set that included a total of 497 dietary treatment means from 92 studies was collected and analyzed using mixed model regression analysis with a random study effect. Diet organic matter digestibility (OMD) in dairy cows at a production level (OMD(p)) was positively associated with OMD at maintenance (OMD(m)), but the slope was less than 1 (0.69). Diet OMD(p) decreased as feed intake increased, and diets with high OMD(m) exhibited greater depressions in digestibility with increased intake than did diets with low OMD(m). Digestibility of organic matter and neutral detergent fiber (NDF) increased as dietary crude protein concentration increased, whereas increased concentrate fat decreased digestibility. Replacement of grass silage with whole-crop cereal silage was associated with a quadratic decrease in diet digestibility. Metabolic fecal output, defined as fecal organic matter minus NDF, averaged 95.8 (SE = 0.65) g/kg of dry matter intake, and it was not influenced by intake or diet composition. Variation in OMD(p) in cows fed grass silage-based diets was therefore attributable to variation in dietary NDF concentration and NDF digestibility. Depression in digestibility of organic matter with increased intake was less than predicted by the National Research Council and Cornell Net Carbohydrate and Protein systems. The following 2-parameter model indicates that the difference between OMD estimated in sheep fed at maintenance compared with dairy cows at production level is related both to dry matter intake and digestibility at maintenance level: OMD(p) = 257 (+/- 43) + 0.685 (+/- 0.054) x OMD(m) (g/kg of dry matter) - 2.6 (+/- 0.44) x dry matter intake (kg/d); adjusted residual mean square error = 8.4 g/kg. It was concluded that diet digestibility in dairy cows can be predicted accurately and precisely from digestibility estimated at maintenance intake in sheep by using regression models including animal and dietary factors.
digestibility; feed intake; dairy cow; grass silage
Journal of Dairy Science
2009, Volume: 92, number: 10, pages: 5031-5042
Animal and Dairy Science