Chickpeas as a protein and energy supplement for high producing dairy cows.

D.L. Hadsell


Thirty lactating Holstein cows were randomly assigned to one of three diets to evaluate chickpeas as dietary supplement from wk 4 to 16 postpartum. Diets contained chickpeas at 0, 50, and 100% of the concentrate DM in place of corn and soybean meal. Total mixed diets, fed individually, contained concentrate, corn silage, and alfalfa hay at 52, 32, and 16% of DM. Milk yield (34.5, 35.1, 35.7 kg/d) was higher for cows fed 100% chickpeas than 0% chickpeas. Milk medium-chain (C12 to C16) fatty acids (53.8, 48.6, 45.5 g/100 g fat), milk long-chain (C18) fatty acids (29.4, 35.0, 38.8 g/100 g fat), and milk protein (3.20, 3.09, 2.96%) differed for all three diets. Ruminal acetate: propionate (2.0, 2.0, 2.4) was highest for cows fed 100% chickpeas. Total essential amino acid concentration in blood serum (105.3, 95.9, 89.4 mumol/dl) was higher for cows fed 0% chickpeas than 100% chickpeas. Lactational responses are discussed with respect to increased intake of fat, increased degradability of dietary protein, and decreased plasma essential amino acids.