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Relationships involving forage appetite and frequency of feeding forage were studied with high-producing Holstein cows, including 60 complete cow lactations and 49 records of the dry period. Significant correlation (r= .59) was obtained between forage dry matter intake and 4% FCM yield in the lactation period. Patterns of forage DM intake were affected strongly by different stages of the lactation and dry periods. Infrequent periods of hot summer weather decreased intake and milk yield by about 10%. Individual cow differences, however, were the most important source of variation in forage DM intake. Age, body weight changes, body condition, and stage of gestation showed little relationship to forage DM intake; neither did body weight, either taken by itself or expressed to the powers of 0.84 or 0.73.
There were no significant differences in milk yield or forage intake due to frequency of feeding, either in the dry period or when total lactation performance was studied. There was a period during mid-lactation, however, when the more frequently fed group consumed less forage (P<.05) than did those fed only once a day.