Effects of tallow in diets based on corn silage or alfalfa silage on digestion and nutrient use by lactating dairy cows

L. D. Ruppert, J. K. Drackley, D. R. Bremmer, J. H. Clark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Six multiparous Holstein cows (average 31 days in milk; 36.3 kg/d of milk) fitted with ruminal cannulas were used in a 6 x 6 Latin square with 21-d periods to investigate the effects of diets that varied in forage source and amount of supplemental tallow. Isonitrogenous diets in a 2 x 3 factorial arrangement were based on either high corn silage (40:10 corn silage to alfalfa silage, % of dry matter) or high alfalfa silage (10:40 corn silage to alfalfa silage, % of dry matter) and contained 0, 2, or 4% tallow. Intakes of dry matter and total fatty acids were lower when cows were fed the high corn silage diet. Tallow supplementation linearly decreased dry matter intake. Milk yield was unaffected by diet; yields of milk fat and 3.5% fat-corrected milk were higher for the high alfalfa silage diet but were unaffected by tallow. Milk fat percentage was higher for the high alfalfa silage and tended to decrease when tallow was added to the high corn silage diet. Contents of trans-C18:1 isomers in milk fat were increased by high corn silage and tallow, and tended to be increased more when tallow was fed in the high corn silage diet. Ruminal pH and acetate:propionate were lower when high corn silage was fed. Ruminal acetate:propionate decreased linearly as tallow increased; the molar proportion of acetate was decreased more when tallow was added to the high corn silage diet. Ruminal liquid dilution rates were higher for the alfalfa silage diet; ruminal volume and solid passage rates were similar among diets. Total tract apparent digestibilities of dry matter, organic matter, crude protein, starch, energy, and total fatty acids were unaffected by diet. Digestibilities of neutral detergent fiber, acid detergent fiber, hemicellulose, and cellulose were lower when high corn silage was fed. The high alfalfa silage diet increased intakes of metabolizable energy and N, and increased milk energy and productive N. Tallow decreased the amount of N absorbed but had few other effects on utilization of energy or N. Tallow linearly increased concentrations of nonesterified fatty acids and cholesterol in plasma; cholesterol was increased by high alfalfa silage. Overall, forage source had more pronounced effects on production and metabolism than did tallow supplementation. Few interactions between forage source and tallow supplementation were detected except that ruminal fermentation and milk fat content were affected more negatively when tallow was fed in the high corn silage diet.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)593-609
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Volume86
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2003

Keywords

  • Alfalfa silage
  • Corn silage
  • Digestibility
  • Tallow

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics

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