Animal Science Department


Date of this Version



Published in Journal of Dairy Science 91:288–300; doi:10.3168/jds.2007-0098 © American Dairy Science Association, 2008. Used by permission.


Twenty midlactation Holstein cows (4 ruminally fistulated) averaging 101 ± 34 d in milk and weighing 674 ± 77 kg were used to compare rations with brown midrib corn silage (bm3) to rations with dual-purpose control silage (DP) on N utilization and milk production. The effect of monensin in these rations was also examined. Animals were assigned to one of five 4 × 4 Latin squares with treatments arranged in a 2 × 2 factorial. Cows were fed 1 of 4 treatments during each of the four 28- d periods. Treatments were 1) 0 mg/d monensin and bm3 corn silage, 2) 0 mg/d monensin and DPcorn silage, 3) 300 mg/d monensin and bm3 corn silage, and 4) 300 mg/d monensin andDPcorn silage. In vitro 30-h neutral detergent fiber (NDF) digestibility was greater for bm3 corn silage (61.0 vs. 49.1 ± 0.62). Dry matter intake (DMI) tended to be greater for cows consuming bm3 corn silage (21.3 vs. 20.2 kg/d). Neither hybrid nor monensin affected milk production, fat, or protein (37.7 kg, 3.60%, or 3.04%). Monensin tended to increase rumen pH (5.89 vs. 5.79 ± 0.07) compared with the control treatment. In addition, bm3 corn silage resulted in a significant decrease in rumen pH (5.72 vs. 5.98 ± 0.07). Supplementing monensin had no effect on molar proportions of acetate, propionate, or butyrate. In contrast, an increase was observed in branched-chain volatile fatty acids. No treatment interactions were observed for rumen pH or molar proportion of propionate but monensin decreased the molar proportion of acetate and increased the molar proportion of butyrate when cattle consumed bm3 silage. Dry matter, N, and acid detergent fiber digestibility were lower for the bm3 ration, whereas NDF digestibility was not different between treatments. There was no effect of hybrid on microbial protein synthesis (1,140 g/d) as estimated by urinary concentration of purine derivatives. Cows consuming bm3 excreted more fecal N than cows consuming DP (38.2 vs. 34.4% N intake); however, based on spot sampling, estimated urinary and manure N were not different between treatments (35.8 and 71.9% N intake). Monensin had no effect on DMI, digestibility of any nutrients, or N metabolism, and there were no hybrid by monensin interactions. Rations including bm3 corn silage tended to increase DMI but did not affect production. The reduction in the digestibility of some nutrients when cows consumed bm3 may have been caused by increased DMI and possible increased digestion in the lower gut. This increase in DMI appeared to also have negatively affected N digestibility but not NDF digestibility. This resulted in a greater amount of N excreted in feces but did not affect total mass of manure N.