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