Restricting dairy cow access time to pasture in autumn: The effects on milk production, grazing behaviour and DM intake of late lactation dairy cows
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CitationB. Garry, E. Ganche, D. Hennessy, M. O'Donovan, J.P. Murphy, E. Kennedy, Restricting dairy cow access time to pasture in autumn: The effects on milk production, grazing behaviour and DM intake of late lactation dairy cows, Animal, Volume 15, Issue 9, 2021, 100335, ISSN 1751-7311, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.animal.2021.100335.
AbstractExtending the grazing season in pasture based systems of dairy production can increase farm profitability; poor weather and soil conditions can reduce the number of grazing days. The study objectives were to (i) examine the effect of restricted access to pasture in the autumn on the milk production, grazing behaviour and DM intake (DMI) of late lactation spring-calving dairy cows and (ii) establish the effect of alternating restricted and continuous access to pasture on dairy cow production, DMI and grazing behaviour. Cows were randomly assigned to one of four grazing treatments: (i) 22 h (full-time) access to pasture (22H; control); (ii) Two 5-h periods of access to pasture (2×5H); (iii) Two 3-h periods of access to pasture (2×3H); and (iv) alternating between full-time and 3-h access to pasture with no more than three continuous days on any one regime, e.g. Monday – full-time access, Tuesday − 2x3H access, Wednesday − 2x3H access; Thursday – full-time access, etc. (2×3HV). Restricted access to pasture was offered after a.m. and p.m. milking. Swards of similar quality and pregrazing herbage mass were offered. Treatment had no effect on milk yield (13.2 kg/day), milk fat (48.2 g/kg), protein (39.0 g/kg) or lactose content (42.6 g/kg) and milk solid yield (1.15 kg/day). Similarly, there was no effect of treatment on final BW (483 kg) or final BCS (2.66). There was no significant difference in DMI (15.1 kg DM/cow/day) between treatments. There was an effect on daily grazing time, 22H cows (565 min/cow/day) grazed for longest time, however, when the 2x3HV treatment had full-time access to pasture, they had a similar grazing time (543 min/cow/day) to the 22H cows and were similar to the 2x3H treatment on days with restricted access to pasture (357 min/cow/day). The 22H and 2x5H animals had similar grass DMI/min (29.2 g/min), the 2x3HV were higher (33.9 g/min) but were similar to the comparable treatment when offered 2x3H access time (41.6 g/min) and when offered 22H access time (27.7 g/min). The results from this study show how when offered a grass only diet of autumn pasture grazing behaviour can be modified by restricting pasture access time without reducing dairy cow production in late lactation at low production levels. There was also no effect of alternating access time between 22H and 2x3H on milk production and DMI in the 2x3HV treatment. Restricted access time to pasture in autumn may be a strategy which farmers can use to extend the grazing season.
FunderIrish Dairy Levy; Teagasc
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Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as © 2021 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. on behalf of The Animal Consortium.