Contrary to general expectations, the characteristics of different varieties of perennial ryegrass such as sugar content do not influence the feed intake of grazing dairy cows. Moreover cell wall degradability characteristics were not different among perennial ryegrass varieties. Research carried out by the Palestinian researcher Hassan Z. H. Taweel at Wageningen University, Netherlands, shows that an increased dry matter intake can be achieved by gaining more insight into the regulatory mechanisms behind the maximum use of rumen capacity. Taweel defended his doctoral thesis Perennial Ryegrass for Dairy Cows: Grazing Behaviour, Intake, Rumen Function and Performance at Wageningen University.
In highly productive grazing dairy stock, dry matter intake (and consequently protein and energy intake) is a limiting factor in milk production. To augment milk production, grazing dairy cattle are therefore generally given supplements of feed concentrates and energy-rich maize silage.
In his study in Wageningen, researcher Taweel examined eating motivation as well as the capacity and rate of digestion in the rumen of dairy cattle. The first hypothesis was that eating motivation is strongly related to taste, and that tastiness is primarily determined by sugar, i.e., water-soluble carbohydrates (WSC) content. The second hypothesis was that plants with more easily digestible cell walls pass through the rumen faster, and the expectation was that this increased the processing capacity and hence grass intake.
Jac Niessen | alfa
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