The timing of pasture allocation and grass silage supplementation affect pasture intake, milk production and nitrogen partitioning of dairy cows
Aim of study: To evaluate the effect of time of pasture allocation (PA) and grass silage allocation on dry matter (DM) intake, grazing behaviour, milk production, rumen function and N partitioning of grazing dairy cows.
Area of study: Valdivia, Chile
Material and methods: Forty-five Holstein-Friesian cows were selected from the Austral Agricultural Research Station at the Universidad Austral de Chile. Cows were allocated to one of three treatments: MPA: 75% of PA and 25% of the silage allowance allocated in the morning; BPA: 50% of PA and silage allowance allocated in the morning; APA: 25% of the PA and 75% of the silage allowance allocated in the morning. All treatments received the complement of pasture and silage allowance in the afternoon. Cows received a daily PA of 21 kg dry DM, 3 kg DM of grass silage and 3.5 kg DM of concentrate.
Main results: Grazing time was not affected by treatments, however, grazing time between afternoon-morning milking was longer for APA. DM intake and milk production were not modified by treatments, averaging 15.6 kg DM/cow and 22.7 kg milk/d, respectively. Rumen propionate was greater for BPA than APA (18.8 and 17.7 mmol/100 mol, respectively). N intake and N excretion throughout milk, urine and feces were not modified by treatments, averaging 458, 119, 195 and 144 g N/d, respectively.
Research highlights: The combination of time of pasture and grass silage allocation is not an adequate strategy to modify pasture intake, milk production and N excretion in dairy cows.
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