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Type of publication: Journal Article
Type of document: Full Paper

Year: 2019

Authors: Kröger, I; Humer, E; Neubauer, V; Reisinger, N; Zebeli, Q

Title: Feeding Diets Moderate in Physically Effective Fibre Alters Eating and Feed Sorting Patterns without Improving Ruminal pH, but Impaired Liver Health in Dairy Cows.

Source: Animals (Basel). 2019; 9(4):

Authors Vetmeduni Vienna:

Humer Elke
Kröger Iris
Neubauer Viktoria
Zebeli Qendrim

Vetmed Research Units
Institute of Animal Nutrition and Functional Plant Compounds

Project(s): Advancement of Dairying in Austria

The main challenge in dairy cattle feeding is to find a balance between the energy and physically effective fibre (peNDF), required to maintain rumen health. In an attempt to regulate the balance between energy intake and rumen buffering, we hypothesized that the content of peNDF in the diet modifies eating and feed sorting patterns of the cows. Sixteen lactating Simmental cows were switched from a diet high in peNDF, with which they were fed for one week, to a diet moderate in peNDF for four weeks. Data showed that during the moderate peNDF feeding the cows increased sorting for medium-sized particles and avoided both long and very fine particles. In addition, cows decreased their eating time per meal, but increased the number of meals per day, obviously attempting to decrease the amount of fermentable substrate per time unit while maintaining high levels of nutrient/energy intake. Although these changes during the moderate peNDF feeding went along with a lower diurnal variation of ruminal pH, feeding of the latter diet did not prevent ruminal pH drop and increased the level of all liver enzymes, indicating liver tissue damage. In conclusion, the altered eating, chewing, and sorting behaviour of the cows during the moderate peNDF feeding could not alleviate the deficiency in peNDF, which resulted in ruminal pH depression and impairment of liver health variables.

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