Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Animal, Dairy, and Veterinary Sciences

Committee Chair(s)

Jong-Su Eun


Jong-Su Eun


Dale R. Zobell


Allen J. Young


J. Earl Creech


Blair L. Waldron


Kenneth L. White


A series of lactation studies reported in this dissertation hypothesized that supplementing different rumen modifiers would have consistent responses on ruminal fermentation and lactational performance under optimal rumen conditions.

The first experiment investigated the influence of magnesium exchanged zeolite on ruminal fermentation and lactational performance. Intake of dry matter (DM), milk yield, milk fat, and feed efficiency were not affected. Milk protein concentration tended (P = 0.15) to be higher for cows fed the zeolite. Ruminal pH tended to increase (P = 0.11) by feeding the sodium bicarbonate or the zeolite.

A second lactation experiment determined the influence of quebracho condensed tannin extract (CTE) on ruminal fermentation and lactational performance. Supplementing CTE decreased intakes of DM and nutrients thereby increasing feed efficiency. Milk yield and components were not affected. Milk urea N (MUN) and total VFA concentration decreased by supplementing CTE. Cows fed CTE had decreased ruminal ammonia-N and MUN concentrations, indicating that less ruminal N was lost as ammonia.

A third lactation trial assessed whole safflower seeds (SS) on ruminal fermentation, lactational performance, and milk fatty acids. Feeding Nutrasaff SS decreased intake of neutral detergent fiber. Digestibilities of nutrients, milk yield and components, ruminal pH, ruminal VFA, and ammonia-N were similar. Ruminal C16:0 fatty acid (FA) concentration increased when feeding cottonseed, while C18:1 cis-9 and C18:2 n-6 tended (P = 0.10 and P = 0.09, respectively) to increase with SS supplementation. Supplementing SS decreased milk C16:0 concentration, whereas it increased C18:1 cis-9 and C18:1 trans-9. Milk C18:1 trans-11 FA and cis-9, trans-11 conjugated linoleic acid increased and tended (P = 0.07) to increase with feeding the Nutrasaff SS.

Feeding zeolite would cost-effectively replace sodium bicarbonate as a ruminal buffer, whereas CTE may change the route of N excretion, having less excretion into urine, but more into feces. Whole SS can be an effective fat supplement to lactating dairy cows without negative impacts on lactational performance and milk FA. These studies demonstrate that the three rumen modifiers can positively manipulate ruminal fermentation.




This work made publicly available electronically on May 11, 2012.