Performance of lactating dairy cows fed sunflower or corn silages and concentrate based on citrus pulp or ground corn


R. Bras. Zootec.




ABSTRACT This study aimed to evaluate the effect of diets containing sunflower or corn silages and concentrate based on citrus pulp or ground corn on intake, apparent digestibility, feeding behavior, microbial protein production, and production, composition, and fatty acid profile of milk from dairy cows. Eight multiparous lactating Holstein cows (586±61 kg live weight; 25.0±4.0 kg daily milk yield at 80 to 120 days in milk) were randomly assigned to a double 4 × 4 Latin square design with a 2 × 2 factorial array. The experimental diets were: sunflower silage + citrus pulp-based concentrate; sunflower silage + ground corn-based concentrate; corn silage + citrus pulp-based concentrate; and corn silage + ground corn-based concentrate. The dry matter intake was highest for diets containing sunflower silage and lowest for diets with citrus pulp. Sunflower silage provided the highest intakes of crude protein, neutral detergent fiber, and ether extract. Except for the ether extract, the type of forage and carbohydrate did not influence the apparent nutrient digestibility. The forage and carbohydrate sources did not influence the feed eating time, but animals fed sunflower silage showed decreased rumination time and chewing activity. The microbial protein production was not altered with the diets. No differences were observed for milk production or composition, except for the milk urea nitrogen and lactose concentration. The type of forage influenced the milk fatty acid profile, to which corn silage presented higher values for fatty acids up to a 17-carbon chain length. The inclusion of sunflower silage and citrus pulp, compared with corn silage and ground corn, alters dry matter intake and ingestive behavior, but maintains milk production and composition with satisfactory characteristics of the milk fatty acid profile, providing an alternative feed for dairy cows.

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