Lactation performance and digestibility of forages and diets in dairy cows fed a hemicellulose extract.



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Journal of Dairy Science








Inclusion of hemicellulose extract (HE) in cattle diets have shown potential for improving fiber digestibility and production efficiency. The objective of this research was to evaluate production and digestibility effects of a HE on midlactation cows. Twelve multiparous Holstein cows (142 ± 44 d in milk, 685 ± 19 kg of body weight) including 4 with ruminal fistula were used in a 2 × 2 Latin square design with 21-d periods. Cows were fed a control (CON) diet containing 55% forage [dry matter (DM) basis, 2/3 corn silage and 1/3 alfalfa hay] or a similar diet where 1.0% of the diet DM was replaced with HE (TRT). Dry matter intake averaged 27.1 and 26.9 kg/d, for CON and TRT respectively, and was not affected by addition of extract. The percentage of milk protein (3.40 vs. 3.29%) was greater, whereas the percentage of milk fat (3.91 vs. 3.80%) tended to be greater, for cows fed the CON compared with the TRT diet. Because of numerically greater milk production (38.8 vs. 39.2 kg/d) for cows fed the TRT diet, no differences were observed in component yields other than lactose (1.86 vs. 1.94 kg/d), which tended to be greater for cows fed the TRT ration. Treatment improved neutral detergent fiber (NDF) digestibility (38.6 vs. 48.1%) for the TRT diet compared with the CON diet but did not affect apparent total-tract DM (67.8 vs. 68.5%), crude protein (67.2 vs. 67.9%), acid detergent fiber (ADF; 37.1 vs. 43.3%), or starch (92.8 vs. 92.2%) digestibility. For in situ determinations, Dacron bags containing corn silage, alfalfa hay, and either the CON or TRT ration were incubated in triplicate in the rumens of the cannulated cows at 0, 3, 6, 9, 12, 24, and 48 h on d 18 of each period. Each total mixed ration was incubated only in cows assigned to the corresponding diet. For corn silage, the rate of disappearance of NDF (1.70 vs. 4.27%) and ADF (1.79 vs. 4.66%) increased for cows fed the TRT diet. For alfalfa hay, the disappearance of fraction A of DM, NDF, and ADF decreased and fraction B of DM and NDF increased with treatment. The rate of disappearance for DM (8.03 vs. 11.04%), NDF (6.30 vs. 10.28%), and ADF (5.52 vs. 9.19%) increased for the alfalfa hay in rumens of treated cows. For the total mixed ration, the disappearance of the A fraction of NDF and ADF increased for cows fed the TRT diet. Supplementing diets of lactating dairy cows with an HE has beneficial effects on fiber degradation characteristics and provides opportunities for improving animal performance.