Indexed on: 01 Apr '13Published on: 01 Apr '13Published in: Asian-Australasian journal of animal sciences
This study estimated the fermentation characteristics and nutrient value of corn-lablab bean mixture silages relative to corn silages. The effects of feeding corn-lablab bean mixture silages on nutrient apparent digestibility and milk production of dairy cows in northern China were also investigated. Three ruminally cannulated Holstein cows were used to determine the ruminal digestion kinetics and ruminal nutrient degradability of corn silage and corn-lablab bean mixture silages. Sixty lactating Holstein cows were randomly divided into two groups of 30 cows each. Two diets were formulated with a 59:41 forage: concentrate ratio. Corn silage and corn-lablab bean mixture silages constituted 39.3% of the forage in each diet, with Chinese wildrye hay constituting the remaining 60.7%. Corn-lablab bean mixture silages had higher lactic acid, acetic acid, dry matter (DM), crude protein (CP), ash, Ca, ether extract concentrations and ruminal nutrient degradability than monoculture corn silage (p<0.05). Neutral detergent fiber (NDF) and acid detergent fiber (ADF) concentrations of corn-lablab bean mixture silages were lower than those of corn silage (p<0.05). The digestibility of DM, CP, NDF, and ADF for cows fed corn-lablab bean mixture silages was higher than for those fed corn silage (p<0.05). Feeding corn-lablab bean mixture silages increased milk yield and milk protein of dairy cows when compared with feeding corn silage (p<0.05). The economic benefit for cow fed corn-lablab bean mixture silages was 8.43 yuan/day/cow higher than that for that fed corn silage. In conclusion, corn-lablab bean mixture improved the fermentation characteristics and nutrient value of silage compared with monoculture corn. In this study, feeding corn-lablab bean mixture silages increased milk yield, milk protein and nutrient apparent digestibility of dairy cows compared with corn silage in northern China.