Confinement Feeding of Dairy Cows Based on Stargrass as Green Chopped Fodder or Hay


Dairy cattle--Feeds and feeding--Puerto Rico

How to Cite

Randel, P. F., & Fernández-Van Cleve, J. (1988). Confinement Feeding of Dairy Cows Based on Stargrass as Green Chopped Fodder or Hay. The Journal of Agriculture of the University of Puerto Rico, 72(2), 231-246.


Thirty Holstein and Brown Swiss cows, managed in full confinement in 6 groups of 5 each, were offered ad libitum either green fodder, chopped in the field daily (A) or baled hay (B), averaging 6.21 and 5.59% crude protein (CP) in the dry matter (DM), respectively. Both forages were harvested at intervals exceeding 55 days, from fertilized nonirrigated swards of relatively pure stargrass (Cynodon nlemfuensis). Individual supplementation consisted of an 18% CP commercial concentrate, fed at 1 kg per 2.2 kg of milk produced daily above 6 to 7 or 4 to 5 kg in treatments A and B, respectively, plus 1 kg extra for first lactation cows; minimum daily allowance was arbitrarily set at 1 leg. Each cow commenced the 168-day experiment 3 weeks after calving. Mean results from 27 animals completing the experiment in treatments A and B (13 and 14 cows) were as follows: proportion of forage OM wasted, 26.1 vs. 18.3%; daily DM intake (DMI) from forage and from concentrates, 10.71 and 2.85 leg vs. 9.92 and 3.14 kg; daily total DMI relative to liveweight (LW), 3.28 vs. 3.11 %; daily LW loss, .022 vs. 0.026 kg; daily milk production, 11.00 vs. 9.97 kg; weekly percentage decline in milk yield, 3.61 vs. 3.94; DMI/4% fat-corrected milk produced, 1.40 vs. 1.39 (kg/kg); percentage contents of milk fat and solidsnot- fat, 3.21 and 8.11 vs. 3.29 and 8.22, respectively. No differences between treatments were significant (P>0.05). Animal performance was poor in spite of relatively high DMI, indicating inadequate nutritive value of both forages. Higher quality forage, possibly stargrass under irrigation cut at earlier maturity, or more liberal concentrate supplementation would be needed for reasonable production with this type of ration.


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