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Replacement of Alfalfa Neutral Detergent Fiber with a Combination of Nonforage Fiber Sources

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Authors: Perry W. Clark and Louis E. Armentano

University: Department of Animal and Food Science, University of Wisconsin-River Falls and Department of Dairy Science, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Year Published: 1996

Abstract: Sixteen Holstein cows in midlactation were used in a 4 × 4 Latin square design to determine the effect of replacing alfalfa neutral detergent fiber (NDF), with NDF from a combination of whole linted cottonseed, dried distillers grains, and wheat middlings. The four diets were a basal control diet that was low in forage and fiber [(5.9 g of corn silage NDF and 6.1 g of alfalfa NDF/100 g of dry matter (DM)], a normal forage diet (low forage plus 10 g of additional alfalfa NDF/100 g of DM), and two low forage diets with either 5 or 10 g of NDF from the nonforage fiber sources added per 100 g of DM. Milk yield, milk protein yield, and milk protein percentage were higher, and milk fat percentage and fat yield were lower, for cows fed the low forage diets than for those fed the alfalfa control diet that was higher in fiber. Among the low forage diets, dry matter intake, milk fat percentage, and fat yield all increased linearly as NDF content increased. The ratio of acetate to propionate in the rumen and rumination times were greater for the normal forage control diet than for the high nonforage fiber diet. Added NDF from these nonforage fiber sources increased milk fat percentage and yield, but this increase was less than the NDF from alfalfa and less than predicted. In agreement with results of similar previous trials, milk protein yield and percentage were increased when alfalfa NDF was replaced with fiber from nonforage fiber sources.

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