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The Effect of Herbage Conservation Method on Protein Value and Nitrogen Utilization in Dairy Cows

Institute of Animal Science, University of Bonn, Endenicher Allee 15, 53115 Bonn, Germany
Agroscope, Animal Biology Research Group, Tioleyre 4, 1725 Posieux, Switzerland
Agroscope, Ruminant Research Unit, Tioleyre 4, 1725 Posieux, Switzerland
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Agriculture 2019, 9(6), 118;
Received: 3 May 2019 / Revised: 31 May 2019 / Accepted: 2 June 2019 / Published: 6 June 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Quality and Production of Forage)
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Ruminant production systems frequently rely on grassland utilization and conservation of herbage as hay or silage. Conservation affects the crude protein (CP) composition and protein value, which is particularly recognized during ensiling. The aim of the current study was to describe the effect of the conservation method on forage protein value and N utilization in dairy cows. Herbage from the same sward was cut and conserved as silage (SI), barn-dried hay (BH), or field-dried hay (FH). Laboratory evaluation indicated differences in CP fractions and ruminal degradability of CP. Conserved forages were fed to six lactating Holstein cows in a replicated 3 × 3 Latin square design, and N balance was assessed. Partitioning of N into milk, feces, and urine was affected only moderately. Lower concentrations of serum, milk, and also urinary urea indicated lower N turnover for FH compared to SI and BH, likely due to lower N intake for FH. However, the use efficiency of feed N for milk N did not differ between the types of forage. Further, high CP concentrations and the unbalanced concentrations of CP and energy in the forages led to excess excretion of N in all treatments and presumably superimposed effects of the conservation method on N utilization. View Full-Text
Keywords: digestibility; energy balance; forage; hay; nitrogen balance; silage digestibility; energy balance; forage; hay; nitrogen balance; silage

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Böttger, C.; Silacci, P.; Dohme-Meier, F.; Südekum, K.-H.; Wyss, U. The Effect of Herbage Conservation Method on Protein Value and Nitrogen Utilization in Dairy Cows. Agriculture 2019, 9, 118.

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