Agronomy and Horticulture Department


Date of this Version



Journal of Dairy Science Sept 1995. v. 78 (9)


U.S. Government Work


Brown midrib sorghum silage was compared with alfalfa, corn, and normal sorghum silages for its effect on performance, ruminal metabolism, and digestive kinetics of Holstein dairy cows in midlactation. Twelve cows averaging 90 ± 5 DIM were assigned to one of four diets in replicated 4 X 4 Latin squares with 4-wk periods. Additionally, 3 ruminally fistulated cows (95 ± 20 DIM) were assigned to the same diets in a 3x 4 Youden square for measurement of ruminal characteristics. Diets were fed as isonitrogenous TMR that contained 65% silage (OM basis). The DMl was greater for the corn and brown midrib sorghum (4% of BW/d) than for the alfalfa and normal sorghum diets (3.4% of BW/d). The brown midrib sorghum supported FCM production that was similar to that of cows on corn and alfalfa diets (25.8 kg/d), but cows fed normal sorghum produced less milk and fewer milk components. Source of silage had no effect on eating time, but rumination was least for the Ruminal pH and ammonia concentrations were similar for all diets. Total VFA concentrations were greatest for the corn and brown midrib sorghum diets. The brown midrib sorghum had greater in situ extent of ruminal NDF digestion than did the normal sorghum, which agreed with in vitro data. The brown midrib sorghum used in this experiment supported FCM production similar to the corn and alfalfa silages commonly fed to dairy cows in midlactation.