Our objective was to evaluate the effects of diet starch concentration and fermentability on energy intake and energy balance during the early postpartum (PP) period. Fifty-two multiparous Holstein cows were used in a randomized block design experiment with a 2 × 2 factorial arrangement of treatments. Treatment rations were formulated to 22% or 28% starch concentration (LS and HS, respectively) with dry ground corn (DGC) or high moisture corn (HMC) as the primary starch source. Rations were formulated for 22% forage neutral detergent fiber (NDF) and 17% crude protein and fed from 1 to 23 d PP. Starch concentration was adjusted by altering concentrations of corn grain and soyhulls. Dry matter intake and milk yield were measured daily, and milk components, milk composition, body condition score (BCS), body weight (BW), and back fat thickness (BFT) were measured weekly. Feeds and refusals as well as fecal samples were collected, and digestibility was determined weekly. High moisture corn (HMC) decreased dry matter and net energy (NE L ) intakes compared with DGC more when included in an HS diet (3.9 kg/d and 3.2 Mcal/d) than in an LS diet (0.9 kg/d and 0.6 Mcal/d). The HMC treatment decreased NDF digestibility 3.7 percentage units compared with DGC when included in the HS diet but had little effect when included in an LS diet. Compared with DGC, HMC increased weekly BW and BFT loss when included in an HS diet (−34.7 vs. −8.4 kg/wk and −0.12 vs. −0.10 cm/wk) and decreased weekly BW loss but increased weekly BFT loss when included in an LS diet (−18.9 vs. −21.4 kg/wk and −0.11 vs. −0.02 cm/wk). Weekly BCS loss increased for HMC compared with DGC (−0.33 vs. −0.23 unit/wk). High moisture corn also decreased milk NE L output compared with DGC (28.2 vs. 31 Mcal/d), but had little effect on energy balance, which was improved by HS compared with LS (−14.7 vs. −16.8 Mcal/d). Over time, concentrations of milk de novo fatty acids (<16 carbons) increased and concentration of milk preformed fatty acids (>16 carbons) decreased for all treatments, but yields of both sources as well as yield of mixed fatty acids (C16:0 plus C16:1 cis-9 and iso-C16:0) decreased over time with increased SF. Feeding HMC decreased energy intake and milk energy output, but it had little effect on energy balance during the early PP period.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Food Science
- Animal Science and Zoology