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Fiber digestibility and protein value of pulp silage for lactating dairy cows: Effects of wet fractionation by screw pressing of perennial ryegrass

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The aim of the study was to investigate the effects of substituting silage of chopped grass with pulp silage of grass fractionated once or twice in a biorefinery using a screw press on fiber kinetics, protein value, and production of CH4 in dairy cows. Six lactating multiparous Holstein cows in mid-lactation (176 ± 93 d in milk), cannulated in the rumen, duodenum, and ileum, were used in an incomplete 6 × 4 Latin square design with a 2 × 3 factorial arrangement of treatments. Perennial ryegrass was harvested in third regrowth from the same field at early and late developmental stage (35 and 44 d of regrowth, respectively) and subjected to 1 of 3 types of processing within each developmental stage. Grass was either harvested for normal silage making (mowed, wilted, chopped, and ensiled), or harvested fresh and fractionated using a screw press. Half of the pulp from the first fractionation was ensiled, whereas the other half of the pulp was rehydrated, fractionated a second time, and pulp hereof was ensiled. The grass and pulp silages were used with concentrates (65:35 forage to concentrate ratio) to make total mixed rations (TMR) based on either silage of chopped grass (GS), pulp silage of grass fractionated once (1×P), or pulp silage of grass fractionated twice (2×P), harvested either at early (E) or late (L) developmental stage resulting in 6 different TMR treatments (EGS, E1×P, E2×P, LGS, L1×P, L2×P). The TMR were fed for ad libitum intake and samples of intestinal digesta and feces were collected for determination of digestibility. The effect of processing on ash-free neutral detergent fiber (aNDFom) concentration in silages depended on developmental stage, but showed that within each developmental stage, pulp silage of grass fractionated twice had higher aNDFom concentration than pulp silage of grass fractionated once and silage of chopped grass. The 2×P resulted in lower (14.9 ± 0.55 vs. 17.5 ± 0.54 kg/d) dry matter intake (DMI) compared with GS. The effects of processing and developmental stage interacted such that apparent total-tract aNDFom digestibility was higher (784 ± 13 vs. 715 ± 13 g/kg) for L2×P compared with LGS, whereas no difference was found between E2×P and EGS. Moreover, the protein value was higher (106 ± 5 vs. 92 ± 5 g AA digested in the small intestine/kg of DMI) for 2×P compared with GS. Unexpectedly, processing had no effect on fractional rate of digestion of digestible aNDFom or CH4 yield (L/kg of DMI), whereas feeding forages harvested at early compared with late developmental stage resulted in lower CH4 yield. Feeding pulp silage of grass fractionated once generally yielded results intermediate to cows fed silage of chopped grass and pulp silage of grass fractionated twice. This study showed that pulp silage of fractionated grass could serve as feed for dairy cows because the fiber digestibility and protein value improved, but further research investigating effects of physical processing of forage on fiber kinetics is required.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Pages (from-to)937-953
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023

    Research areas

  • fiber kinetic, forage, methane, perennial ryegrass, ruminant

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