A nutritious whey silage fed to beef cows during maintenance

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J of Anim and Vet Advances





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Two studies were conducted with the objective of evaluating the effects of feeding liquid whey ensiled with wheat straw and wheat middlings to beef cows under maintenance conditions. Whey silage was produced by combining liquid whey, barley straw and wheat middlings at levels of 28.7, 46.8 and 24.6% for study one (DMB) and 30.3, 45.8 and 23.9% for study two (DMB) respectively. Dry, pregnant beef cows, initial weight 613.0 kg and 578.0 kg for studies one and two respectively, were randomly assigned to either a control (C) or Treatment (T) group with five head per pen and three pens per treatment. Length of study was 56 days for study one and 140 days for study two. In study one the C cows received grass hay and the T ration that consisted of 83.3, 16.0 and .70% whey silage, barley grain and limestone respectively. Study two C cows received a diet consisting of 27.6% alfalfa hay, 55.2% barley straw and 17.2% barley grain and T cows received whey silage and a small amount of limestone. In both studies a TM salt was provided free choice to all cows. Feed intake was recorded daily on a pen basis and adjusted after each weighing such that cows from both treatments gained approx. .20 kg d 1. Cows in study one gained weight equally between treatments (p>.05), with no differences in change of body condition score (p>.05). In study two, C cows gained 88.0 kg versus 107.4 kg for the T cows (p.05) between treatments. Dry matter digestibility was not different between treatments (p>.05) with values of 63.1 and 67.8% for the C and T groups respectively. Neutral detergent fiber digestibility differed (C-60.4 and T-49.9%; p<0.05). For both studies the T cow`s diets were approximately 30% lower in cost than C diets. This study confirms that whey silage is a viable alternative to more traditional diets for beef cows under maintenance conditions.

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