Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

Restricting dairy cow access time to pasture in early lactation: the effects on milk production, grazing behaviour and dry matter intake

  • E. Kennedy (a1), J. Curran (a1), B. Mayes (a2), M. McEvoy (a1), J. P. Murphy (a1) and M. O'Donovan (a1)...
Abstract

One of the main aims of pasture-based systems of dairy production is to increase the proportion of grazed grass in the diet. This is most easily achieved by increasing the number of grazing days. However, periods of inclement weather conditions can reduce the number of days at pasture. The two objectives of this experiment were: (i) to investigate the effect of restricting pasture access time on animal production, grazing behaviour and dry matter intake (DMI) of spring calving dairy cows in early lactation; and (ii) to establish whether silage supplementation is required when cows return indoors after short grazing periods. In all, 52 Holstein–Friesian spring calving dairy cows were assigned to a four-treatment study from 25 February to 26 March 2008. The four treatments were: full-time access to pasture (22H; control); 4.5-h- pasture access after both milkings (2 × 4.5H); 3-h pasture access after both milkings (2 × 3H); 3-h pasture access after both milkings with silage supplementation by night (2 × 3SH). All treatments were offered 14.4 kg DM/cow per day herbage from swards, with a mean pre-grazing yield of 1739 kg DM/ha above 4 cm, – and were supplemented with 3 kg DM/cow per day of concentrate. The 2 × 3SH treatment was offered an additional 4 kg DM/cow of grass silage by night. Restricting pasture access time (2 × 3H, 2 × 3SH and 2 × 4.5H) had no effect on milk (28.3 kg/cow per day) and solids-corrected milk (27.2 kg/cow per day) yield when compared with the treatment grazing full time. Supplementing animals with grass silage did not increase milk production when compared with all other treatments. Milk protein concentration tended to be lower (P = 0.08; 32.2 g/kg) for the 2 × 3SH animals when compared with the 22H animals (33.7 g/kg). The grass DMI of the 2 × 3SH treatment was significantly lower (−2.3 kg DM/cow per day) than all other treatments (11.9 kg DM/cow per day), yet the total DMI of these animals was highest (16.6 kg DM/cow per day). The 22H cows grazed for 481 min/cow per day, which is significantly longer than all other treatments. The 2 × 3H animals grazed for 98% of the time, whereas the 2 × 3SH grazed for 79% of their time at pasture. Restricting pasture access time did not affect end body weight or body condition score. The results of this study indicate that restricting pasture access time of dairy cows in early lactation does not affect milk production performance. Furthermore, supplementing cows with grass silage does not increase milk production but reduces grazing efficiency.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Restricting dairy cow access time to pasture in early lactation: the effects on milk production, grazing behaviour and dry matter intake
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Restricting dairy cow access time to pasture in early lactation: the effects on milk production, grazing behaviour and dry matter intake
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Restricting dairy cow access time to pasture in early lactation: the effects on milk production, grazing behaviour and dry matter intake
      Available formats
      ×
Copyright
Corresponding author
E-mail: Emer.Kennedy@teagasc.ie
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

JL Albright 1993. Feeding behaviour of dairy cattle. Journal of Dairy Science 76, 485498.

P Chilibroste , S Tamminga , H Boer 1997. Effects of length of grazing session, rumen fill and starvation time before grazing on dry-matter intake, ingestive behaviour and dry-matter rumen pool sizes of grazing lactating dairy cows. Grass and Forage Science 52, 249257.

P Dillon , S Crosse , B O'Brien , RW Mayes 2002. The effect of forage type and level of concentrate supplementation on the performance of spring-calving dairy cows in early lactation. Grass and Forage Science 57, 212224.

H Dove , AD Moore 1995. Using a least-squares optimization procedure to estimate botanical composition based on the alkanes of plant cuticular wax. Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 46, 15351544.

GB Greenwood , MW Demment 1988. The effect of fasting on short-term cattle grazing behaviour. Grass and Forage Science 43, 377386.

GR Iason , AR Mantecon , DA Sim , J Gonzalez , E Foreman , FF Bermudez , DA Elston 1999. Can grazing sheep compensate for a daily foraging time constraint? Journal of Animal Ecology 68, 8793.

E Kennedy , M O'Donovan , JP Murphy , FP O'Mara , L Delaby 2006. The effect of initial spring grazing date and subsequent stocking rate on the grazing management, grass dry matter intake and milk production of dairy cows in summer. Grass and Forage Science 61, 375384.

E Kennedy , M O'Donovan , FP O'Mara , JP Murphy , L Delaby 2007. The effect of early-lactation feeding strategy on the lactation performance of spring-calving dairy cows. Journal of Dairy Science 90, 30603070.

E Kennedy , M McEvoy , JP Murphy , M O'Donovan 2009. Effect of restricted access time to pasture on dairy cow milk production, grazing behavior, and dry matter intake. Journal of Dairy Science 92, 168176.

T Kristensen , F Oudshoorn , L Munksgaard , K Segaard 2007. Effect of time at pasture combined with restricted indoor feeding on production and behaviour in dairy cows. Animal 1, 439448.

MI Linnane , AJ Brereton , PS Giller 2001. Seasonal changes in circadian grazing patterns of Kerry cows (Bos Taurus) in semi-feral conditions in Killarney National Park, Co. Kerry, Ireland. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 71, 277292.

G Llamas-Lamas , DK Combs 1991. Effect of forage to concentrate ratio and intake level on utilization of early vegetative alfalfa silage by dairy cows. Journal of Dairy Science 74, 526536.

RW Mayes , CS Lamb , PA Colgrove 1986. The use of dosed herbage n-alkanes as markers for the determination of herbage intake. Journal of Agricultural Science (Cambridge) 107, 161170.

A Hameleers , RW Mayes 1998. The use of n-alkanes to estimate supplementary grass silage intake in grazing dairy cows. The Journal of Agricultural Science 131, 205209.

SJ Morrison , DC Patterson 2007. The effects of offering a range of forage and concentrate supplements on milk production and dry matter intake of grazing dairy cows. Grass and Forage Science 62, 332345.

M McEvoy , L Delaby , E Kennedy , TM Boland , M O'Donovan 2009. Early lactation dairy cows: development of equations to predict intake and milk performance at grazing. Livestock Science 122, 214221.

E Pérez-Ramírez , JL Peyraud , R Delagarde 2009. Restricting daily time at pasture at low and high pasture allowance: effects on pasture intake and behavioral adaptation of lactating dairy cows. Journal of Dairy Science 92, 33313340.

JL Peyraud , EA Comeron , MH Wade , G Lemaire 1996. The effect of daily herbage allowance, herbage mass and animal factors upon herbage intake by grazing dairy cows. Annales de Zootechnie 45, 201217.

CJC Phillips , JD Leaver 1985. Supplementary feeding of forage to grazing dairy cows. 2. Offering grass silage in early and late season. Grass and Forage Science 40, 193199.

CJC Phillips 1988. The use of conserved forage as a supplement for grazing dairy cows. Grass and Forage Science 43, 215230.

RG Pulido , JD Leaver 2003. Continuous and rotational grazing of dairy cows – the interactions of grazing system with level of milk yield, sward height and concentrate level. Grass and Forage Science 58, 265275.

OA Rego , SMM Regalo , HJD Rosa , SP Alves , AES Borba , RJB Bessa , ARJ Cabrita , AJM Fonseca 2008. Effects of grass silage and soybean meal supplementation on milk production and milk fatty acid profiles of grazing dairy cows. Journal of Dairy Science 91, 27362743.

AJ Rook , CA Huckle , PD Penning 1994. Effects of sward height and concentrate supplementation on the ingestive behaviour of spring-calving dairy cows grazing grass-clover swards. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 40, 101112.

SM Rutter , RA Champion , PD Penning 1997. An automatic system to record foraging behaviour in free-ranging ruminants. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 54, 185195.

SM Rutter 2000. ‘Graze’: a program to analyse recordings of jaw movements of ruminants. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments and Computers 32, 8692.

L Shalloo , P Dillon , J O'Loughlin , M Rath , M Wallace 2004. Comparison of a pasture-based system of milk production on a high rainfall, heavy-clay soil with that on a lower rainfall, free-draining soil. Grass and Forage Science 59, 157168.

HF Tyrell , JT Reid 1965. Prediction of the energy value of cows’ milk. Journal of Dairy Science 48, 12151233.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

animal
  • ISSN: 1751-7311
  • EISSN: 1751-732X
  • URL: /core/journals/animal
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords:

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 2
Total number of PDF views: 87 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 167 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 25th June 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.