Date of Award:

2016

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Animal, Dairy, and Veterinary Sciences

Advisor/Chair:

Jong-Su Eun

Abstract

The objective of this experiment was to determine if nutrient utilization and energy partitioning by lactating dairy cows would differ in response to dietary corn grain (CG) types [steam-flaked corn (SFC) vs. high-moisture corn (HMC)] and to test if the types of CG would interact with slow-release urea (SRU) on lactational performance and energy utilization. Eight multiparous Holstein cows (32 ± 8.2 days-in-milk) were used in a duplicated 4 × 4 Latin square with one square consisting of ruminally cannulated cows. A 2 × 2 factorial arrangement was used to test 4 dietary treatments: SFC without SRU, SFC with SRU, HMC without SRU, and HMC with SRU. The experimental diets contained 60.5% dry matter (DM) of forages, whereas 12.9% or 14.4% DM of SFC or HMC was added in the diets, respectively. The SRU was supplemented at 0.46% DM, replacing a mixture of soybean meal and canola meal in a 50:50 ratio. Feeding HMC decreased intakes of DM, crude protein, and fiber compared with SFC. Supplementation of SRU did not affect intakes of DM and nutrients, whereas it tended to increase intakes of DM or increased crude protein intake under SFC but no effect under HMC, leading to CG ×SRU interactions on DM and crude protein intakes. Neither type of CG nor SRU supplementation affected milk production except that cows fed HMC-based diets tended to decrease energy-corrected milk yield compared to those fed SFC-based diets. Utilization of HMC in the diet had a tendency to increase dairy efficiency based on milk yield over SFC utilization. Cows fed HMC diets gained more body weight (BW) than those fed SFC diets, whereas supplementing SRU tended to reduce BW gain regardless of type of CG. Cows fed HMC diets shifted more net energy into BW compared with those fed SFC diets, whereas supplementing SRU tended to decrease a portion of net energy partitioned into BW gain under both SFC and HMC diets. Dietary treatments exerted minor impacts on ruminal fermentation profiles. Feeding HMC diets decreased fecal N excretion compared with SFC diets. In addition, supplementing SRU increased fecal N excretion under SFC, but it was decreased by SRU with HMC, leading to an interaction between CG and SRU. These collective results demonstrate that feeding HMC with SRU can be a practical option in high-forage lactation diets to maintain or improve nutrient and energy utilization efficiency and minimize negative environmental impacts.

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