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Effects of forage-to-concentrate ratio in prepartum diet on the dry matter intake and milk yield of periparturient cows during hot weather

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The objective of this experiment was to study the effect of prepartum diets on dry matter intake (DMI) around parturition and on milk production in early lactation during a hot summer. Nine cows due to calve in July or August were assigned to two groups and fed either control (group C; four cows) or high-concentrate (group H; five cows) diets to meet 110% of their energy requirements from 18 days before the expected calving date to parturition. The proportion of concentrate in the control diet was 35%, and that in the high-concentrate diet was 45%. For 21 days after parturition, all cows were fed the same diets for lactation ad libitum. The DMI of cows in group H almost met their energy requirements. In group C, the DMI was decreased relative to group H and the concentration of plasma non-esterified fatty acids was significantly higher (P < 0.05) before parturition. Therefore, the cows in group C were thought to be energy deficient before parturition. After parturition, there were no significant differences in DMI between the two groups. The milk yield of cows in group H tended to be higher than that of cows in group C at 21 days after parturition. Milk protein yield was significantly higher (P < 0.05) in group H 21 days after parturition relative to group C. There were no significant differences in milk composition between the two groups.
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Keywords: dairy cow; dry matter intake; heat stress; parturition

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: National Agricultural Research Center for Kyushu Okinawa Region, Nishigoshi-machi, Kumamoto-ken, Japan

Publication date: February 1, 2006

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