The objective of this experiment was to assess the effects of manipulating dietary fiber by replacing corn silage (CS) with lower quality forage as corn stover (CST) when used in high concentrate (HC) and low concentrate (LC) diets for precision-fed dairy heifers. Eight Holstein heifers (335.6 ± 7.41. kg of body weight) were randomly assigned to 2 levels of concentrate: HC (20% forage) and LC (80% forage), and to a forage type sequence [0% of forage as corn stover (CST), 100% corn silage (CS); 20% CST, 80% CS; 40% CST, 60% CS; and 60% CST, 40% CS] within concentrate level administered according to a split-plot, 4 × 4 Latin square design (21-d periods). Heifers fed HC had higher apparent total-tract dry matter digestibility (DMD). Increasing the fiber level by increasing the amount of CST in the diet resulted in a linear decrease of DMD and organic matter digestibility. Heifers fed LC diets had higher neutral detergent fiber (NDF) digestibility and tended to have lower acid detergent fiber (ADF) digestibility than those fed HC diets. Substituting CS with 20% CST resulted in the highest NDF and ADF digestibilities. Digestibility of N was not different, but N retention increased for HC and decreased quadratically for LC diets. Heifers fed HC diets decreased fecal output, and CST linearly increased these parameters. Urine volume tended to be higher for HC-fed heifers, and increasing dietary fiber through CST inclusion tended to decrease urine output. This shift in water excretion resulted in similar total manure output. Total purine derivative excretion did not differ between treatments, but interacted with CST addition, resulting in a linear increase in microbial protein flow to the duodenum in HC-fed heifers and in a linear decrease in LC diets as CST increased. In conclusion, increasing dietary fiber through CST decreased DMD and organic matter digestibility linearly, whereas NDF and ADF digestibility were maximized when 20% CST was added to HC and LC diets. Microbial protein synthesis increased and decreased linearly with CST addition in HC and LC diets, respectively. Retention of N increased and decreased quadratically with CST addition in HC and LC diets, respectively. Total manure excretion was not different between HC or LC diets.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Food Science
- Animal Science and Zoology