The effect of concentrate feeding strategies on rumen parameters, milk production and milk composition of Jersey cows grazing ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum) or kikuyu (Pennisetum clandestinum) pasture
Thesis (MScAgric)--Stellenbosch University, 2012
ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Ruminal pH is the rumen condition that varies most. Studying the cause and effect of diurnal variation offers a means of improving ruminal conditions for rumen micro-organisms with subsequent improvements in fibre degradation, milk yields and milk composition. A research project was conducted to test the following hypothesis: feeding 6 kg (as is) concentrate per cow/day in different weight ratios, divided in a morning and an afternoon allocation, will result in an improved ruminal pH profile and a concurrent increase in fibre fermentation, milk yield and improved milk composition. The project was conducted at the Outeniqua Research Farm in the Southern Cape of South Africa. A randomized block design was used and two phases, viz. ryegrass phase and a kikuyu phase, were applied. Each phase was conducted during the growing season of the grass specie used as pasture. A rumen study and a production study were done in each phase. The rumen study used six cannulated multiparous cows per treatment, testing rumen pH, volatile fatty acid (VFA) concentration, in sacco degradation of neutral detergent fibre (NDF) and dry matter (DM). The production study used 42 multiparous cows, blocked according to days in milk (DIM), parity and milk yield, and cows were randomly divided into three treatment groups. The study tested milk yield, milk composition and changes in body weight (BW) and body condition score (BCS). Treatments consisted of a maize based concentrate supplement (6 kg per cow/day, as is) being fed to cows on pasture in different weight ratios between morning and afternoon allocation. Treatments used in the production study were: Concentrate fed: 5 kg during morning; 1 kg during afternoon • Concentrate fed: 4 kg during morning; 2 kg during afternoon • Concentrate fed: 3 kg during morning; 3 kg during afternoon The first and the last treatments mentioned above were used in the rumen studies. Results of the rumen study of the ryegrass phase showed no differences in ruminal pH between treatment means. The time (h) spent below the critical ruminal pH, i.e. 5.8, was of short duration (2.92 to 3.42 hours). The concentration of certain VFA’s differed at times, but the differences were not reflected in graphs and data of the ruminal pH. No differences were observed in in sacco NDF and DM degradation between treatment means. Similar results were mostly obtained in the kikuyu phase. No differences were found in either daily maximum, minimum or mean ruminal pH between treatment means. Though time (h) spent below the critical ruminal pH was of a long duration (7.1 hours) it did not differ between treatments. No differences were observed between treatment means for in sacco NDF and DM degradation. Results of the production study of the ryegrass phase showed no differences in milk yield or milk composition between treatment means. The same was observed in the kikuyu phase except that milk fat was higher in the treatment group that received the 3:3 kg ratio treatment. The fact that treatments did not differ in terms of milk yield and milk composition in the production studies can be attributed to no differences between treatments in terms of rumen parameters observed in the rumen studies. Thus, feeding a higher proportion of concentrate in the morning relative to the afternoon for a total of 6 kg per cow/day does not affect ruminal pH, fibre digestion or milk production. Based on the results of both phases it can be concluded that the null hypothesis should be rejected.
AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die invloed van kragvoer voedingsstrategieë op rumen parameters, melkproduksie en melksamestelling van Jerseykoeie op raaigras- (Lolium multiflorum) of kikoejoe- (Pennisetum clandestinum) weidings. Die invloed van kragvoer voedingsstrategieë op rumen parameters, melkproduksie en melksamestelling van Jerseykoeie op raaigras- (Lolium multiflorum) of kikoejoe- (Pennisetum clandestinum) weidings. Behandelings toegepas in die produksiestudie het bestaan uit ‘n kragvoeraanvulling met ‘n mieliebasis wat aan koeie op weidings gevoer is in verskillende gewigsverhoudings tussen oggend- en middagvoeding, as volg: Behandelings toegepas in die produksiestudie het bestaan uit ‘n kragvoeraanvulling met ‘n mieliebasis wat aan koeie op weidings gevoer is in verskillende gewigsverhoudings tussen oggend- en middagvoeding, as volg: