Ruminal Digestion and Duodenal Nutrient Flows in Dairy Cows Consuming Grass as Pasture, Hay, or Silage

L. A. Holden, L. D. Muller, G. A. Varga, P. J. Hillard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


The objective of this experiment was to quantitate ruminal digestion and flow of nutrients to the small intestine of Holstein cows grazing grass pasture or fed grass hay or silage. Three dry, nonpregnant Holstein cows fitted with ruminal and duodenal (Y-type) cannulas grazed or were given free choice access to hay or silage during three consecutive 19-d periods. Pasture intake was estimated using chromic oxide; hay and silage intakes were both measured and estimated. Intakes were similar among forages. Ruminal samples had higher VFA and ammonia when cows grazed than when cows were fed hay or silage. Ruminal pH did not differ. Based on duodenal spot sampling, cows on pasture had lower DM flows to the small intestine. Bacterial N flow, as a percentage of total N flow, was higher for cows that grazed. Most flows of AA to the small intestine were similar among forages, but Pro and Phe were lower for grazing cows. Supplementation strategies for cows on pasture should be designed to synchronize protein and carbohydrate in the rumen and to increase the supply of nutrients available in the small intestine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3034-3042
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of dairy science
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1994

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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