The effect of number of daily meals for dairy cows on milk yield and composition
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Hebrew University, Faculty of Agriculture, Rehovot 76100, Israel
Institute of Animal Science, Agriculture Research Organization, The Volcani Center, Bet Dagan 50250, Israel
Ministry of Agriculture, Extension Service, Rehovot 76324, Israel
Publication date: 1998-06-24
Corresponding author
Z. Shabi
Hebrew University, Faculty of Agriculture, Rehovot 76100, Israel
J. Anim. Feed Sci. 1998;7(3):249-259
The effect of the number of daily meals on milk yield and composition was studied in a commercial dairy herd. One hundred and eighty Israeli Holstein cows were divided into two groups. One group was given one meal daily and the second group three meals daily. Feeding frequency had no effect on DM intake, milk yield or milk composition. Total VFA and molar proportion of acetate were higher before feeding than 3 h later. The decrease in molar proportion of acetate after feeding was greater in the cows given one meal daily. The propionate molar proportion was higher before feeding and lower 3 h later if cows were given three meals daily. As a result, the acetate to propionate ratio was lower in cows fed three meals daily before feeding and rose after 3 h. Ruminal ammonia-N concentrations, before and after feeding, were lower when cows were fed three meals daily. Plasma urea-N concentrations were higher before feeding, as compared with 3 h later. Plasma urea-N was higher for the one meal treatment, but significantly only 3 h after the morning meal. It is suggested that increasing feeding frequency may improve dietary nitrogen utilization and may shift metabolism towards more gluconeogenesis. Production responses to more frequent feeding are more likely to be revealed in high yielding dairy cows, maintained on high concentrate diets.
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