Brown midrib corn silage fed during the peripartal period increased intake and resulted in a persistent increase in milk solids yield of Holstein cows.J Dairy Sci. 2012 Nov; 95(11):6665-76.JD
The objective of this study was to evaluate transition cow performance when brown midrib corn silage (BMRCS; Mycogen F2F444) was included in the diet during the transition period, and to determine if any production response occurring during the first 3 wk of lactation would persist from wk 4 to 15 when a common diet was fed. Seventy Holstein dairy cows were blocked by parity (either second or third and greater) and calving date and randomly assigned to the CCS (a mixture of varieties of conventional corn silage) or BMRCS treatment. Diets were formulated with the objective of keeping all ration parameters the same, with the exception of neutral detergent fiber digestibility. Neutral detergent fiber digestibility values (30 h) for CCS and BMRCS averaged 56.8 and 73.8%, respectively. Prepartum rations contained 47% corn silage, 18% wheat straw, 7% alfalfa haylage, and 28% concentrate, and averaged 45% neutral detergent fiber (DM basis). Postpartum rations contained 40% corn silage, 15% alfalfa haylage, 1% straw, and 44% concentrate. Milk weights (3×/d) and dry matter intake were recorded daily, and milk composition was measured weekly. Cows fed BMRCS had higher dry matter intake during the 2-wk period before calving (14.3 vs. 13.2 kg/d) and the 3-wk period after calving (20.1 vs. 18.1 kg/d) than did cows fed CCS. Yields of milk, solids, and lactose were increased, whereas a trend was observed for a reduction in somatic cell counts and linear scores in the postpartum period for cows receiving BMRCS during the transition. A significant carryover effect of BMRCS was observed on production from wk 4 to 15 when the common diet was fed, with yields of protein (1.36 vs. 1.30 kg/d), lactose (2.24 vs. 2.12 kg/d), and solids (5.82 vs. 5.51 kg/d) increasing significantly, and yields of fat-corrected milk, energy-corrected milk, and fat tending to increase during this period for cows that had been fed BMRCS. The increased intakes during the last 2 wk of the prepartum period in the BMRCS treatment were likely because of a reduction in fill, whereas the increased intakes in the postpartum period in cows fed the BMRCS were either because of the higher intakes during the prepartum period or because of a reduction in fill limitations in the postpartum period. The carryover response in wk 4 to 15 may have resulted from cows that received BMRCS during the transition period being in a more positive nutrient balance than cows fed CCS. The results of this study indicate the importance that digestible NDF can have in transition diets and the long-term production responses that can occur when intake is increased in the transition period.