Skip to main content Accessibility help

Replacing wheat with canola meal and maize grain in the diet of lactating dairy cows: Feed intake, milk production and cow condition responses

  • Ruairi P McDonnell (a1) and Martin vH Staines (a1)


This research paper describes the effect of partially replacing wheat with maize grain and canola meal on milk production and body condition changes in early lactation Holstein-Friesian dairy cows consuming a grass silage-based diet over an 83-d period. Two groups of 39 cows were stratified for age, parity, historical milk yield and days in milk (DIM), and offered one of two treatment diets. The first treatment (CON) reflected a typical diet used by Western Australian dairy producers in summer and comprised (kg DM/cow per d); 8 kg of annual ryegrass silage, 6 kg of crushed wheat (provided once daily in a mixed ration), 3·6 kg of crushed lupins (provided in the milking parlour in two daily portions) and ad libitum lucerne haylage. The second treatment diet (COMP) was identical except the 6 kg of crushed wheat was replaced by 6 kg of a more complex concentrate mix (27% crushed wheat, 34% maize grain and 37% canola meal). Lucerne haylage was provided independently in the paddock to all cows, and no pasture was available throughout the experiment. The COMP group had a greater mean overall daily intake (22·5 vs 20·4 kg DM/cow) and a higher energy corrected milk (ECM) yield (29·2 vs 27·1 kg/cow; P = 0·047) than the CON cows. The difference in overall intake was caused by a higher daily intake of lucerne haylage in COMP cows (4·5 vs 2·3 kg DM/cow). The CON group had a higher concentration of milk fat (42·1 vs 39·3 g/kg; P = 0·029) than COMP cows. Milk protein yield was greater in COMP cows (P < 0·021); however, milk fat yield was unaffected by treatment. It is concluded that partially replacing wheat with canola meal and maize grain in a grass silage-based diet increases voluntary DMI of conserved forage and consequently yields of ECM and milk protein.


Corresponding author

*For correspondence; e-mail:


Hide All

Present address: Western Dairy Research, Development & Extension Hub, Verschuer Place, Bunbury, WA 6230, Australia.



Hide All
Allen, MS, Voelker, JA & Oba, M 2006 Physically effective fibre and regulation of rumen pH: more than just chewing. In Production Diseases in farm Animals, pp. 270278 (Eds Joshi, NP & Herdt, TH). Wageningen, The Netherlands: Wageningen academic Publishers
Andrew, SM, Waldo, DR & Erdman, RA 1994 Direct analysis of body composition of dairy cows at three physiological stages. Journal of Dairy Science 77 30223033
Association of Official Analytical Chemists 1990 Official Methods of Analysis 15th Ed. AOAC, Arlington, VA, USA
Aufrere, J & Michalet-Doreau, B 1988 Comparison of methods for predicting digestibility of feeds. Animal Feed Science and Technology 20 203218
Auldist, MJ, Marett, LC, Greenwood, JS, Hannah, M, Jacobs, JL & Wales, WJ 2013 Effects of different strategies for feeding supplements on milk production responses in cows grazing a restricted pasture allowance. Journal of Dairy Science 96 12181231
Auldist, MJ, Marett, LC, Greenwood, JS, Wright, MM, Hannah, M, Jacobs, JL & Wales, WJ 2014 Replacing wheat with canola meal in a partial mixed ration increases the milk production of cows grazing at a restricted pasture allowance in spring. Animal Production Science 54 869878
Auldist, MJ, Marett, LC, Greenwood, JS, Wright, MM, Hannah, M, Jacobs, JL & Wales, WJ 2016 Milk production responses to different strategies for feeding supplements to grazing dairy cows. Journal of Dairy Science 99 657671
Bargo, F, Muller, LD, Kolver, ES & Delahoy, JE 2002 Performance of high producing dairy cows with three different feeding systems combining pasture and total mixed rations. Journal of Dairy Science 85 29482963
Bauman, DE & Griinari, JM 2003 Nutritional regulation of milk fat synthesis. Annual Review of Nutrition 23 203227
Berry, DP, Veerkamp, RF & Dillon, P 2006 Phenotypic profiles for body weight, body condition score, energy intake, and energy balance across different parities and concentrate feeding levels. Livestock Science 104 112
Earle, D 1976 A guide to scoring dairy cow condition. Journal of Agriculture, Victoria 74 228231
Giallongo, F, Harper, MT, Oh, J, Parys, C, Shinzato, I & Hristov, AN 2017 Histidine deficiency has a negative effect on lactational performance of dairy cows. Journal of Dairy Science 100 27842800
Golder, H, Denman, S, McSweeney, C, Wales, W, Auldist, M, Wright, M, Marett, L, Greenwood, J, Hannah, M, Celi, P, Bramley, E & Lean, I 2014 Effects of partial mixed rations and supplement amounts on milk production and composition, ruminal fermentation, bacterial communities, and ruminal acidosis. Journal of Dairy Science 97 57635785
Griinari, JM, McGuire, MA, Dwyer, DA, Bauman, DE, Barbano, DM & House, WA 1997 The role of insulin in the regulation of milk protein synthesis in dairy cows. Journal of Dairy Science 80 23612371
Hills, JL, Wales, WJ, Dunshea, FR, Garcia, SC & Roche, JR 2015 Invited review: an evaluation of the likely effects of individualized feeding of concentrate supplements to pasture-based dairy cows. Journal of Dairy Science 98 13631401
Huhtanen, P, Hetta, M & Swensson, C 2011 Evaluation of canola meal as a protein supplement for dairy cows: a review and a meta-analysis. Canadian Journal of Animal Science 91 529543
Ipharraguerre, IR & Clark, JH 2005 Varying protein and starch in the diet of dairy cows. ii. Effects on performance and nitrogen utilization for milk production. Journal of Dairy Science 88 25562570
Kaiser, AG, Mailer, RJ & Vonarx, MM 1995 A comparison of Karl Fischer titration with alternative methods for the analysis of silage dry matter content. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture 69 5159
Khorasani, GR, Okine, EK & Kennelly, JJ 2001 Effects of substituting barley grain with corn on ruminal fermentation characteristics, milk yield, and milk composition of holstein cows. Journal of Dairy Science 84 27602769
Krause, KM & Oetzel, GR 2006 Understanding and preventing subacute ruminal acidosis in dairy herds: a review. Animal Feed Science and Technology 126 215236
Leddin, CM, Stockdale, CR, Hill, J, Heard, JW & Doyle, PT 2010 Increasing amounts of crushed wheat fed with Persian clover herbage reduced ruminal pH and dietary fibre digestibility in lactating dairy cows. Animal Production Science 50 837846
Lee, C, Hristov, AN, Cassidy, TW, Heyler, KS, Lapierre, H, Varga, GA, de Veth, MJ, Patton, RA & Parys, C 2012 Rumen protected lysine, methionine, and histidine increase milk protein yield in dairy cows fed a metabolizable protein-deficient diet. Journal of Dairy Science 95 60426056
McDonnell, RP, Staines, MvH, Edmunds, BE & Morris, R 2017 Feeding management, production and performance of 13 pasture-based dairy farms in a Mediterranean environment. Animal Production Science 57 19401951
National Research Council 2001 Nutrient Requirements of Dairy Cattle: Seventh Revised Edition, 2001. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press
Nousiainen, J, Shingfield, K & Huhtanen, P 2004 Evaluation of milk urea nitrogen as a diagnostic of protein feeding. Journal of Dairy Science 87 386398
O'Mara, F, Murphy, J & Rath, M 1997 The effect of replacing dietary beet pulp with wheat treated with sodium hydroxide, ground wheat, or ground corn in lactating cows. Journal of Dairy Science 80 530540
Roche, JR, Friggens, NC, Kay, JK, Fisher, MW, Stafford, KJ & Berry, DP 2009 Invited review: body condition score and its association with dairy cow productivity, health, and welfare. Journal of Dairy Science 92 57695801
Standing commitee on Agriculture 1990 Ruminants Subcommitee. Feeding Standards for Australian Livestock. East Melbourne: CSIRO
Tedeschi, L, Chalupa, W, Janczewski, E, Fox, D, Sniffen, C, Munson, R, Kononoff, PJ & Boston, R 2008 Evaluation and application of the CPM Dairy nutrition model. Journal of Agricultural Science 146 171182
Tyrrell, HF & Reid, JT 1965 Prediction of the energy value of cow's milk. Journal of Dairy Science 48 12151223
Vanhatalo, A, Huhtanen, P, Toivonen, V & Varvikko, T 1999 Response of dairy cows fed grass silage diets to abomasal infusions of histidine alone or in combinations with methionine and lysine. Journal of Dairy Science 82 26742685
Van Soest, P, Robertson, J & Lewis, B 1991 Methods for dietary fiber, neutral detergent fiber, and nonstarch polysaccharides in relation to animal nutrition. Journal of Dairy Science 74 35833597
Wales, WJ, Marett, LC, Greenwood, JS, Wright, MM, Thornhill, JB, Jacobs, JL, Ho, CKM & Auldist, MJ 2013 Use of partial mixed rations in pasture-based dairying in temperate regions of Australia. Animal Production Science 53 11671178


Related content

Powered by UNSILO

Replacing wheat with canola meal and maize grain in the diet of lactating dairy cows: Feed intake, milk production and cow condition responses

  • Ruairi P McDonnell (a1) and Martin vH Staines (a1)


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.