The effect of supplementary feeding 0, 4 or 8 kg DM/cow/d of turnips or sorghum to cows offered a restricted pasture allowance (25 kg DM/cow/d) on milk characteristics (fat, protein and lactose, N fractions, serum proteins, fatty acids (FAP) and solid fat content (SFC)) was investigated. Thirty identical twinsets were used (10 cows/treatment) in a partial cross-over designed experiment comprising two, 10-day periods. Sorghum was higher in fibre (NDF, 65% v 23%), total lipid (3.5% v 1.5%) and similar for crude protein (9.6% v 12.0%) than turnips. Lipid composition differed between crops; turnips had more lauric (C12:0) and less linolenic (C18:3) fatty acids than sorghum. Differences in the chemical composition of the crop were reflected in different milk compositions. Milkfat content was lower for cows fed turnips than sorghum and the effect was greater (P<0.001) with increasing amount of turnips fed (5.5%, 5.1% and 5.0% for 0, 4, and 8 kg DM/cow/d respectively). Milkfat composition also differed for cows fed turnips compared to sorghum. With an increased amount of turnips fed, short, medium and long-chain fatty acids increased (P<0.001) and total unsaturated fatty acids decreased (P<0.001). As a consequence, SFC (an indication of milkfat hardness) also increased. Conjugated linoleic acid (cis-9- trans-11-C18:2) declined (P<0.001) as the level of supplementation with crop increased. The effect was greater (P<0.001) with turnips than sorghum. Compared with the fat components in milk the treatments had minimal effect on milk protein and nitrogen fractions. Feeding cows turnips compared to sorghum decreased (P<0.001) milk urea levels and increased (P<0.001) casein: whey protein ratio. This ratio declined (P<0.05) with increasing rates of supplementation with sorghum. These results show that different feed types can change milk components that influence the efficiency of milk processing, physical characteristics and nutritive value of the final dairy products.

NA, Thomson, DA Clark, CD Waugh, van der WC Poel, and AKH MacGibbon

Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 60, Hamilton, 320-323, 2000
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