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Concentrate Mixture, Grass Pellets, Fodder Beets, or Barley as Supplements to Silage ad libitum for High-yielding Dairy Cows on Organic Farms

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In Denmark, organic feeding is typically based on homegrown feed with a high proportion of roughage. Which crop to grow and use as supplementary feed is investigated in this paper. In three experiments, barley (B) was compared with another type of supplementary feed: a concentrate mixture (C), grass pellets (G), or fodder beets (F). The concentrate mixture resulted in a higher (P=0.002) milk yield (25.9 vs. 23.7 kg), a tendency of a lower (P=0.07) fat content (4.08 vs. 4.25%), and a higher (P=0.006) ECM yield (25.7 vs. 24.1 kg) compared to feeding barley as supplement at the same energy level. Grass pellets resulted in a lower (P=0.01) milk fat content (3.74 vs. 4.07%), a tendency of a lower (P=0.12) protein content (3.14 vs. 3.23%), but no different milk or ECM yield compared to feeding barley as supplement at the same dry matter level. Fodder beet tended to decrease (P=0.12) the milk yield (20.7 vs. 22.0 kg), and the ECM yield (P=0.05) was lower (21.5 vs. 22.9 kg) whereas the composition of the milk was unaffected compared to the total mixed ration with barley.

Keywords: Health; homegrown; milk yield; organic feeding; supplementary feed

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: November 1, 2003

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