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Research article1991Peer reviewedOpen access

Rumen fill and digesta kinetics in lactating Friesian cows given two levels of concentrates with two types of grass silage ad lib

Gasa, J.; Holtenius, Kjell; Sutton, J. D.; Dhanoa, M. S.; Napper, D. J.


Four lactating Friesian cows with permanent cannulas in the rumen and proximal duodenum were given early (EC)- or late (LC)-cut grass silage ad lib., each with either 3 or 9 kg concentrate dry matter (DM)/d in a 4 x 4 Latin square design starting about 10 weeks after calving. Feed was offered twice daily at 08.30 hours and 15.30 hours. Periods lasted 5 weeks and measurements were made in the last 15 d. The higher amount of concentrates increased total DM intake but reduced silage DM intake and the fractional rate of degradation of silage-fibre DM. Later cutting date of silage had no effect on DM intake or the fractional rate of degradation of silage-fibre DM but reduced potential degradability of silage fibre. Dilution rate of CoEDTA in rumen fluid was greater during the day (eating period) than during the night (resting period). Dilution rates measured at the duodenum were lower than those measured in the rumen, but neither was affected by diet. Silage-particle passage rates were measured by use of ytterbium-labelled silage fibre (Yb-fibre) and chromium-mordanted faecal particles (Cr-faeces) and samples were taken at the duodenum and in the faeces. Values for slower rate constant (k1) and transit time were higher and for faster rate constant (k2) were lower for Yb-fibre than for Cr-faeces, but differences in total mean retention time were inconsistent. Values for k1 for both markers and k2 for Yb-fibre only were similar at both sampling sites, but values for k2 for Cr-faeces were lower in the faeces. No diet effects were established with Yb-fibre but, with Cr-faeces, k1 was reduced by more concentrates and EC-silage. Daily mean weights of wet digesta, liquid, neutral-detergent fibre (NDF) and indigestible NDF in the rumen were greater with LC-silage but were unaffected by the amount of concentrates whereas weight of rumen DM was increased by the amount of concentrates only. Maximum rumen fill occurred at 18.00 hours with all diets. Particle-size distribution of rumen contents did not vary markedly during the day. Mean particle size was generally greater with LC-silage than EC-silage. Very small particles, passing through the 0.3 mm screen, constituted about half the rumen DM. It is concluded that rumen fill could have limited intake of LC-silage but not EC-silage. The reduced silage intake with greater concentrate intake was associated with a reduction in fibre degradation rate and an increase in rumen DM fill but no other consistent effects on weight or kinetics of rumen fractions were established.



Published in

British Journal of Nutrition
1991, Volume: 66, number: 3, pages: 398381

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Animal and Dairy Science

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