Advances in Management of Grazing Dairy Cows for Animal Performance and Product Quality

A special issue of Animals (ISSN 2076-2615). This special issue belongs to the section "Animal System and Management".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2020) | Viewed by 45950

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Guest Editor
Department of Agricultural, Food, Environmental and Animal Sciences, University of Udine, Udine, Italy
Interests: livestock farming systems; dairy production and management; small scale farms; environmental sustainability
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Guest Editor
Department of Agri-Food, Environmental and Animal Sciences, University of Udine, Via delle Scienze 206, 33100 Udine, Italy
Interests: animal production; dairy science; meat science; pasture management

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In the past, pasture was the main source of forage for dairy cows. In recent decades, especially in developed countries, farmers have progressively converted their farms to confinement systems. However, the use of pasture for dairy cows, even if with peculiar meanings in different territorial contexts, still remains a widespread and important management practice.

Profitable pasture-based systems involve the evaluation of varied and multiples aspects, such as animal genetic resources, nutrient requirements, grazing methods, stocking density, herbage intake, feeding supplementation, and pasture characteristics. These management factors interact with each other in complex ways and are strongly reflected in the production performance, intrinsic and extrinsic quality attributes of the products, animal welfare, environmental sustainability of the activity, as well as on the vegetation dynamics of the pasture.

In recent years, many innovations have been proposed, and new knowledge has been obtained both to develop more effective strategies for grazing cows management and to monitor their effects.

The aim of this Special Issue is to present original research papers that address innovative management approaches for grazing dairy cows' and their consequent implications for milk and cheese production, animal welfare, environmental sustainability of the activity, pasture.

Prof. Stefano Bovolenta
Prof. Mirco Corazzin
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • Keywords: pasture
  • dairy cow
  • milk quality
  • cheese quality
  • animal welfare
  • environmental sustainability

Published Papers (13 papers)

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Research

21 pages, 760 KiB  
Article
Milk Production, N Partitioning, and Methane Emissions in Dairy Cows Grazing Mixed or Spatially Separated Simple and Diverse Pastures
by Lorena Carmona-Flores, Massimo Bionaz, Troy Downing, Muhammet Sahin, Long Cheng and Serkan Ates
Animals 2020, 10(8), 1301; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10081301 - 30 Jul 2020
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 4387
Abstract
Increasing pasture diversity and spatially separated sowing arrangements can potentially increase the dry matter intake of high-quality forages leading to improved animal production. This study investigated the effects of simple (two-species) and diverse (six-species) pastures planted either in mixed or spatially separated adjacent [...] Read more.
Increasing pasture diversity and spatially separated sowing arrangements can potentially increase the dry matter intake of high-quality forages leading to improved animal production. This study investigated the effects of simple (two-species) and diverse (six-species) pastures planted either in mixed or spatially separated adjacent pasture strips on performance, N partitioning, and methane emission of dairy cows. Thirty-six mid-lactation Jersey cows grazed either (1) simple mixed, (2) simple spatially separated, (3) diverse mixed, or (4) diverse spatially separated pastures planted in a complete randomized block design with three replicates. Compared to simple pasture, diverse pasture had lower CP content but higher condensed tannins and total phenolic compounds with an overall positive effect on yield of milk solids, nitrogen utilization, including a reduction of N output from urine, and methane yields per dry matter eaten. The spatial separation increased legume and CP content in simple pasture but decreased NDF in both diverse and simple pastures. In conclusion, increasing diversity using pasture species with higher nutritive value and secondary compounds can help improving the production while decreasing the environmental effect of dairy farming, while spatial separation had a minor effect on feed intake and yield, possibly due to overall high-quality pastures in early spring. Full article
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21 pages, 1870 KiB  
Article
Maximising Lucerne (Medicago sativa) Pasture Intake of Dairy Cows: 2—The Effect of Post-Grazing Pasture Height and Mixed Ration Level
by Kieran A. D. Ison, Marcelo A. Benvenutti, David G. Mayer, Simon Quigley and David G. Barber
Animals 2020, 10(5), 904; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10050904 - 22 May 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2469
Abstract
The effects of lucerne (Medicago sativa) post-grazing residual pasture height on pasture utilisation (vertical and horizontal), pasture intake and animal production were investigated in a sub-tropical partial mixed ration dairy system. The study took place at the Gatton Research Dairy, Southeast [...] Read more.
The effects of lucerne (Medicago sativa) post-grazing residual pasture height on pasture utilisation (vertical and horizontal), pasture intake and animal production were investigated in a sub-tropical partial mixed ration dairy system. The study took place at the Gatton Research Dairy, Southeast Queensland (−27.552, 152.333), with a 26-day adaptation period followed by two 8-day measurement periods during August and September 2018. A quantity of 30 multiparous Holstein-Friesian dairy cows were offered two levels of mixed ration, 7 and 14 kg dry matter (DM)/cow/day for low and high levels respectively, and five levels of pasture allocation, to achieve decreasing residual pasture heights. Pasture allocations measured from 5 cm above ground level for the low mixed ration groups averaged 12.7, 15.9, 19.8, 35.3 and 49.2 kg DM/cow/day, and for the high mixed ration groups averaged 5.0, 8.3, 10.3, 18.6, and 25.2 kg DM/cow/day, respectively. As pasture allocation decreased, cows were forced to graze further down into the pasture sward, and therefore residual pasture height declined. Total intake (kg DM/cow/day) declined as residual pasture height (expressed as % of the initial height) declined, irrespective of mixed ration level, decreasing by 0.5 kg DM/cow/day for every 10% decrease in residual pasture height. Low total intakes were associated with high non-esterified fatty acid (NEFA) levels in plasma, indicating mobilisation of fat tissue to maintain milk production. In the high allocation treatments, an area of pasture remained ungrazed and cows were only grazing the top leafy stratum where pasture intake rate and intake were highest. Therefore, to maximise intake in sub-tropical partial mixed ration (PMR) systems, lucerne pasture should be allocated so that cows are always grazing the top leafy stratum. This can be achieved by ensuring the pasture around faecal patches remains ungrazed. Full article
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15 pages, 1327 KiB  
Article
Maximizing Lucerne (Medicago sativa) Pasture Intake of Dairy Cows: 1-the Effect of Pre-Grazing Pasture Height and Mixed Ration Level
by Kieran A. D. Ison, Marcelo A. Benvenutti, David G. Mayer, Simon Quigley and David G. Barber
Animals 2020, 10(5), 860; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10050860 - 15 May 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2380
Abstract
The effect of lucerne (Medicago sativa L.) pre-grazing pasture height on pasture intake and milk production was investigated in a sub-tropical partial mixed ration (PMR) dairy system in south-east Queensland, Australia. The experiment involved a 26-day adaptation period followed by an eight-day [...] Read more.
The effect of lucerne (Medicago sativa L.) pre-grazing pasture height on pasture intake and milk production was investigated in a sub-tropical partial mixed ration (PMR) dairy system in south-east Queensland, Australia. The experiment involved a 26-day adaptation period followed by an eight-day measurement period during April and May 2018. Twenty-four multiparous Holstein-Friesian dairy cows were offered a mixed ration at either 7 (low) or 14 (high) kg dry matter (DM)/cow/day and allocated pastures at pre-grazing heights ranging from 23 to 39 cm. The targeted pasture intake was 14 and 7 kg DM/cow/day for cows offered the low and high mixed ration allowances respectively, with a total intake target of 21 kg DM/cow/day. Pasture structure did not limit pasture intake as the all groups left at least 12% of the allocated area ungrazed, and therefore could selectively graze pasture. There was no significant difference in intake between mixed ration levels, however intake had a positive linear relationship with pre-grazing pasture height. For every one cm increase in pasture height, intake increased by 0.3 kg DM/cow/day. Using a grazing strategy that ensures the some pasture remains ungrazed and the pre-grazing height of lucerne is approximately 39 cm above ground level will maximise pasture intake in sub-tropical PMR dairy systems. Full article
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14 pages, 792 KiB  
Article
Effect of Feeding Adaptation of Italian Simmental Cows before Summer Grazing on Animal Behavior and Milk Characteristics
by Mirco Corazzin, Monica Berlese, Enrico Sturaro, Maurizio Ramanzin, Luigi Gallo, Eugenio Aprea, Flavia Gasperi, Damiano Gianelle and Stefano Bovolenta
Animals 2020, 10(5), 829; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10050829 - 11 May 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3095
Abstract
According to the alpine transhumance system, dairy cows are moved from indoor feeding with conserved forage to fresh herbage feeding on pasture. The aim of this study was to assess, as a feeding adaptation technique, the effect of a gradual inclusion of fresh [...] Read more.
According to the alpine transhumance system, dairy cows are moved from indoor feeding with conserved forage to fresh herbage feeding on pasture. The aim of this study was to assess, as a feeding adaptation technique, the effect of a gradual inclusion of fresh herbage in the diet of Italian Simmental dairy cows before their transfer to alpine pasture on performance, behavior, and milk characteristics. Eighteen cows were assigned to three groups: animals transferred to alpine pasture with a 10-d feeding adaptation period consisting in gradual access to a pasture close to the valley farm (GT), animals transferred to alpine pasture without a feeding adaptation period (AT), and animals kept in the valley farm (IND). During the first two weeks of summer grazing, GT and AT showed higher rumination time and different concentrations of ketones, hydrocarbons, organic acids, toluene, alcohols, phenols, and dimethyl sulfone in milk as compared to IND, whereas no differences were found in milk yield, composition, or coagulation properties. No differences between GT and AT were evident for the studied variables. The feeding adaptation technique used in this study did not influence the performance and milk characteristics of Italian Simmental dairy cows grazing on alpine pasture. Full article
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17 pages, 1616 KiB  
Article
Short-Term Effect of Daily Herbage Allowance Restriction on Pasture Condition and the Performance of Grazing Dairy Cows during Autumn
by Verónica M. Merino, Oscar A. Balocchi, M. Jordana Rivero and Rubén G. Pulido
Animals 2020, 10(1), 62; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10010062 - 29 Dec 2019
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2620
Abstract
The aim of this study was to evaluate the short-term effects of daily herbage allowance (DHA, defined as the product of pre-grazing herbage mass and offered area per animal) on pasture conditions and milk production of Holstein-Friesian dairy cows. Forty-four early lactation dairy [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the short-term effects of daily herbage allowance (DHA, defined as the product of pre-grazing herbage mass and offered area per animal) on pasture conditions and milk production of Holstein-Friesian dairy cows. Forty-four early lactation dairy cows were randomly assigned to one of four treatments in a 2 × 2 factorial design that tested two levels of DHA (17 and 25 kg DM/cow.day) and two levels of maize silage supplementation (MSS, 4.5 and 9 kg DM/cow.day) over a 77-day period. Low DHA decreased the post-grazing herbage mass from 1546 to 1430 kg DM/ha and the compressed sward height from 5 to 4.4 cm, while the grazing efficiency remained unaffected. Low DHA induced a faster herbage mass reduction, while the sward-height and pasture characteristics did not differ from the high DHA regime. Low DHA decreased the tiller production rates and daily lamina growth, while the leaf-production rate was not affected by the DHA. Daily increases of herbage mass were greater in the high DHA than in the low DHA treatments. Individual milk production and milk protein concentration decreased at a low DHA compared to high DHA, while the milk fat concentration was greater and the milk output per hectare increased by 1510 kg. Neither the MSS level nor the interaction DHA by the MSS level had any effect on the sward characteristics or the productivity of the cows. From these results, it is suggested that, in a high-quality pasture, using 17 kg DM/cow.day was appropriate for improving both herbage utilization and milk production per hectare while maintaining the short-term conditions of a pasture grazed by dairy cows in the autumn. Full article
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11 pages, 721 KiB  
Communication
Milk Production, Milk Quality, and Behaviour of Dairy Cows Grazing on Swards with Low and High Water-Soluble Carbohydrates Content in Autumn: A Pilot Trial
by Verónica M. Merino, Oscar A. Balocchi and M. Jordana Rivero
Animals 2019, 9(12), 1012; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9121012 - 21 Nov 2019
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3636
Abstract
Grazing ruminant systems can be sustainably intensified by improving efficiency while reducing their environmental impact. The objective of the present study was to examine the potential of pastures differing in water-soluble carbohydrates (WSC) and crude protein (CP) contents to affect milk production and [...] Read more.
Grazing ruminant systems can be sustainably intensified by improving efficiency while reducing their environmental impact. The objective of the present study was to examine the potential of pastures differing in water-soluble carbohydrates (WSC) and crude protein (CP) contents to affect milk production and composition as well as the behaviour of cows grazing perennial ryegrass (PRG) swards. By modifying the nitrogen (N) fertilisation rate (83 and 250 kg/ha per year) and the defoliation frequency (two or three leaves per tiller) in combination with cultivar selection (high-sugar vs. standard cultivars), we obtained two swards differing in WSC and CP contents. The two contrasting swards were each grazed by six dairy cows in nine daily strips in autumn. Pasture samples were collected to determine herbage mass and quality. Cow behaviour was recorded by direct observation. Herbage offered and apparently consumed were similar between swards (averaging 37.3 and 18.2 kg/cow, respectively), although the residual was lower in the high-sugar sward (1735 vs. 2143 kg/ha). Cows spent less time grazing in the high-sugar sward (66.9% v. 71.6%), but the rumination times was similar (14.6%). Milk production and composition were similar between groups, suggesting that high-quality pastures would require a greater difference in nutritional composition to affect animal performance. Full article
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12 pages, 310 KiB  
Article
Diurnal Concentration of Urinary Nitrogen and Rumen Ammonia Are Modified by Timing and Mass of Herbage Allocation
by Ignacio E. Beltran, Pablo Gregorini, José Daza, Oscar A. Balocchi, Alvaro Morales and Ruben G. Pulido
Animals 2019, 9(11), 961; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9110961 - 13 Nov 2019
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 2299
Abstract
The objective of this work was to evaluate whether changes in time of herbage allocation and herbage mass (HM) (low (L) or medium (M)) modify the diurnal pattern of urinary nitrogen (N) concentration and ruminal ammonia (NH3) of lactating dairy cows. [...] Read more.
The objective of this work was to evaluate whether changes in time of herbage allocation and herbage mass (HM) (low (L) or medium (M)) modify the diurnal pattern of urinary nitrogen (N) concentration and ruminal ammonia (NH3) of lactating dairy cows. Four Holstein-Friesian cows fitted with rumen cannula were randomly allocated to one of four treatments: 1) low herbage mass in the morning (L-AM) (Access to new herbage allocation after morning milking with a herbage mass (HM) of 2000 kg DM/ha); 2) low herbage mass in the afternoon (L-PM) (Access to new herbage allocation after afternoon milking with a HM of 2000 kg DM/ha); 3) medium herbage mass in the morning (M-AM) (Access to new herbage allocation after morning milking with a HM of 3000 kg DM/ha); and 4) medium herbage mass in the afternoon (M-PM) (Access to new herbage allocation after afternoon milking with a HM of 3000 kg DM/ha). A four by four Latin Square design with four treatments, four cows, and four experimental periods was used to evaluate treatment effects. Rumen NH3 concentration was greater for L-AM compared to L-PM and M-PM at 13:00 and 16:00 h. Urine urea and N concentrations were lower for M-AM compared to L-AM. Urine N concentration was greater for L-AM than other treatments at 10:00 hours and greater for M-PM compared to M-AM at 16:00 hours. Results suggest that maintaining the cows in the holding pen at the milking parlor for two hours after morning grass silage supplementation for L-AM and for two hours after afternoon grass silage supplementation for M-PM, could allow collection of urine from cows at the holding pen and storage of urine in the slurry pit during the time of peak N concentration, returning cows to the pasture at a time of day when urinary N concentration is decreased. Full article
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16 pages, 1784 KiB  
Article
Grazing on Upland Pastures Part-Time Instead of Full-Time Affects the Feeding Behavior of Dairy Cows and Has Consequences on Milk Fatty Acid Profiles
by Elisa Manzocchi, Madeline Koczura, Mauro Coppa, Germano Turille, Michael Kreuzer and Joel Berard
Animals 2019, 9(11), 908; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9110908 - 1 Nov 2019
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2418
Abstract
Different grazing management systems are practiced on upland dairy farms during summer, depending on topography, local traditions, and infrastructure. The present experiment compared two distinct management systems with respect to feeding behavior and milk-related properties. Two similar groups of eight Valdostana Red Pied [...] Read more.
Different grazing management systems are practiced on upland dairy farms during summer, depending on topography, local traditions, and infrastructure. The present experiment compared two distinct management systems with respect to feeding behavior and milk-related properties. Two similar groups of eight Valdostana Red Pied cows originating from two farms were followed during three grazing events in summer on three upland grazing sites. Cows in the full-time grazing group were kept exclusively on pasture and milked twice daily in a mobile milking parlor. Cows in the part-time grazing group had access to pasture for 4 h and 2 h after their morning and evening milkings, respectively. The part-time grazing cows differed markedly in their feeding behavior; they exhibited shorter daily ingestion times and longer durations of ingestion and idling bouts than full-time grazing cows. Part-time grazing cows had lower milk protein and casein contents, but milk yield and milk coagulation properties did not differ from the full-time grazing cows. As a result of the fasting periods in the barn, part-time grazing cows synthesized less fatty acids de novo and mobilized body fat reserves, as evidenced by the higher proportion of oleic acid in their milk fat. Full article
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11 pages, 334 KiB  
Article
Does Virtual Fencing Work for Grazing Dairy Cattle?
by Sabrina Lomax, Patricia Colusso and Cameron E.F. Clark
Animals 2019, 9(7), 429; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9070429 - 8 Jul 2019
Cited by 56 | Viewed by 8501
Abstract
Pasture management in Australia’s dairy industry requires the manual shifiting of temporary electric fences to maintain pasture quality and growth. Virtual fencing presents an alternative to save time and labour costs. We used automated virtual fence (VF) collars to determine the variation in [...] Read more.
Pasture management in Australia’s dairy industry requires the manual shifiting of temporary electric fences to maintain pasture quality and growth. Virtual fencing presents an alternative to save time and labour costs. We used automated virtual fence (VF) collars to determine the variation in learning of the virtual fence stimuli, and evaluated the success of the technology to contain cows in a predetermined area of pasture. Twelve Holstein-Friesian non-lactating multiparous dairy cows were fitted with the collars, and a VF was used to restrict cows to two grazing allocations (G1 and G2) across six days. Cows received an audio tone (AT) when they approached the virtual fence, and a paired electrical pulse (EP) if they continued forward. The VF contained cows within predetermined areas for 99% of time, but cows spent the least time near the fence (p < 0.01). The number of stimuli reduced through time, demonstrating the ability of cows to learn the VF (p = 0.01). However, the mean number of EP per day ranged from 1 to 6.5 between individuals (p < 0.01). Therefore, successful containment may have a welfare cost for some individuals. Further work should focus on this individual variation, including measures of welfare. Full article
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11 pages, 379 KiB  
Article
The Order of Grass and Maize Silage Supplementation Modifies Milk Yield, Grazing Behavior and Nitrogen Partitioning of Lactating Dairy Cows
by Ignacio E. Beltrán, Omar Al-Marashdeh, Ana R. Burgos, Pablo Gregorini, Oscar A. Balocchi, Fernando Wittwer and Rubén G. Pulido
Animals 2019, 9(6), 373; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9060373 - 19 Jun 2019
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 3354
Abstract
The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of the order of grass silage (GS) and maize silage (MS) supplementation on milk yield, grazing behavior and nitrogen (N) partitioning of lactating dairy cows during autumn. Thirty-six Holstein-Friesian dairy cows were randomly [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of the order of grass silage (GS) and maize silage (MS) supplementation on milk yield, grazing behavior and nitrogen (N) partitioning of lactating dairy cows during autumn. Thirty-six Holstein-Friesian dairy cows were randomly assigned to one of three treatments, and cows remained on these treatments for a 62 days period: (1) MIX; cows supplemented with 3 kg of dry matter (DM) of silage containing 1.5 kg DM of MS and 1.5 kg DM of GS in both the morning and afternoon; (2) GS-MS; cows supplemented with 3 kg DM of GS in the morning and 3 kg DM of MS in the afternoon; (3) MS-GS; cows supplemented with 3 kg DM of MS in the morning and 3 kg DM of GS in the afternoon. All cows received a pasture allowance of 17 kg DM/cow/d and 3 kg DM of concentrate. Grazing time and pasture intake were unaffected by treatment; however, milk production was greater for MS-GS, while milk protein was greater for GS-MS. Urinary N excretion was greater for MS-GS than MIX. In conclusion, MS-GS resulted in high milk yield but also high urinary N excretion, while MIX resulted in low urinary N excretion but also decreased milk yield. Full article
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12 pages, 268 KiB  
Article
Grazing Preference of Dairy Cows and Pasture Productivity for Different Cultivars of Perennial Ryegrass under Contrasting Managements
by M. Jordana Rivero, Oscar L. Balocchi, Fabián L. Neumann and Juan A. Siebald
Animals 2019, 9(5), 253; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9050253 - 20 May 2019
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2726
Abstract
The objective of this study was to evaluate the pasture performance of different cultivars of perennial ryegrass, two “high sugar” and two standard cultivars, under two contrasting agronomic managements (aimed at either decreasing or increasing water soluble carbohydrates concentration), and their effects on [...] Read more.
The objective of this study was to evaluate the pasture performance of different cultivars of perennial ryegrass, two “high sugar” and two standard cultivars, under two contrasting agronomic managements (aimed at either decreasing or increasing water soluble carbohydrates concentration), and their effects on the grazing preference of dairy cows. Eight treatments arising from the factorial combination of four cultivars and two managements were randomly applied to 31-m2 plots in three blocks. Pasture dry matter production and growth rate were measured for one year. Three grazing assessments were performed to establish the grazing preferences of six dairy cows in spring, summer and autumn. High sugar cultivars produced less dry matter per hectare than the standard cultivars. Cows consumed more grass and harvested a greater proportion of the pasture under the agronomic management aimed at decreasing sugar concentration, i.e., with a greater nitrogen fertilization rate and under a more frequent defoliation regime, which could be explained by the greater crude protein concentration achieved under this management. The results suggest that the genetic selection for greater levels of sugars was at the expense of herbage yield, and that cows preferred to graze herbage with a greater crude protein level instead of a greater sugar concentration. Full article
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16 pages, 2238 KiB  
Article
Patterns of Biodynamic Milk Fatty Acid Composition Explained by A Climate-Geographical Approach
by Ton Baars, Jenifer Wohlers, Carsten Rohrer, Stefan Lorkowski and Gerhard Jahreis
Animals 2019, 9(3), 111; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9030111 - 22 Mar 2019
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 3174
Abstract
Background: Biodynamic dairy production is based on a land-related animal production without the additional input of N-fertilizers. The concentrate level per cow is low. This affects the yield level of animals and product quality outcomes. Methods: We examined the milk fatty acid (FA) [...] Read more.
Background: Biodynamic dairy production is based on a land-related animal production without the additional input of N-fertilizers. The concentrate level per cow is low. This affects the yield level of animals and product quality outcomes. Methods: We examined the milk fatty acid (FA) composition of European biodynamic farms in relation to the ecological region of production and the farm’s climate conditions. Climate data were derived from existing maps describing ecological vegetation zones within Europe. Additionally, biodynamic shop milk was compared to conventional shop milk, based on a regional comparison. Results: The largest differences in the FA composition were between biodynamic summer and winter milk. We found increased proportions of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), alpha-linolenic acid (ALA-n3), monounsaturated FA (MUFA), and polyunsaturated FA (PUFA) in the summer milk. A principal component analysis expressed the structure that was present in the biodynamic farm milk samples, based on clusters of a single FA within four components. The components could be correlated with the season of production, the amount of precipitation, the elevation of the farm above sea level, and the length of the grazing season. Biodynamic shop milk in the summer had a lower n6/n3 PUFA ratio compared to the conventional shop milk in all regions of production. Mean values were 1.37 and 1.89, respectively. Conclusions: The differentiation of biodynamic milk FA composition is consistent with the existing knowledge about the effects of fresh grass, fodder, and ratio composition on the milk’s FA composition. Based on the n6/n3 PUFA ratio, the average biodynamic dairy cow had a high intake (>82%) of fresh grass and conserved roughage (hay and grass silage), especially in the summer. Full article
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11 pages, 840 KiB  
Article
Readily Available Water Access is Associated with Greater Milk Production in Grazing Dairy Herds
by Ruan R. Daros, José A. Bran, Maria J. Hötzel and Marina A. G. von Keyserlingk
Animals 2019, 9(2), 48; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9020048 - 5 Feb 2019
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 3895
Abstract
In this cross-sectional study, we measured the association between water provision and milk production on intensively managed small-scale grazing dairy herds. Farms (n = 53) were categorized according to water provision as follows: (1) Restricted—cows did not have access to a water [...] Read more.
In this cross-sectional study, we measured the association between water provision and milk production on intensively managed small-scale grazing dairy herds. Farms (n = 53) were categorized according to water provision as follows: (1) Restricted—cows did not have access to a water trough while on pasture; and (2) Unrestricted—cows had free access to a water trough while on pasture. Herd main breed and feeding practices were included in a model to assess the effect of water provision category on farm average milk yield/cow/d. The effect of pasture condition and environmental variables on milk production were also assessed, however were not retained on the final model. Herds provided with unrestricted access to drinking water produced on average 1.7 L more milk per cow/d (p = 0.03) than herds with restricted access to drinking water. Predominantly Holstein herds produced 2.8 L more milk per cow/d (p < 0.01) than non-Holstein herds. Each extra kg of concentrate offered per day increased milk yield by 1.1 L/cow/d (p < 0.01). In conclusion, providing free access to drinking water while grazing was associated with greater milk production. Full article
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