This study investigated the effects of an amylase-enabled corn silage on lactational performance, enteric CH4 emission, and rumen fermentation of lactating dairy cows. Following a 2-wk covariate period, 48 Holstein cows were blocked based on parity, days in milk, milk yield (MY), and CH4 emission. Cows were randomly assigned to 1 of 2 treatments in an 8-wk randomized complete block design experiment: (1) control corn silage (CON) from an isogenic corn without α-amylase trait and (2) Enogen hybrid corn (Syngenta Seeds LLC) harvested as silage (ECS) containing a bacterial transgene expressing α-amylase (i.e., amylase-enabled) in the endosperm of the grain. The ECS and CON silages were included at 40% of the dietary dry matter (DM) and contained, on average, 43.3 and 41.8% DM and (% DM) 36.7 and 37.5% neutral detergent fiber, and 36.1 and 33.1% starch, respectively. Rumen samples were collected from a subset of 10 cows using the ororuminal sampling technique on wk 3 of the experimental period. Enteric CH4 emission was measured using the GreenFeed system (C-Lock Inc.). Dry matter intake (DMI) was similar between treatments. Compared with CON, MY (38.8 vs. 40.8 kg/d), feed efficiency (1.47 vs. 1.55 kg of MY/kg of DMI), and milk true protein (1.20 vs. 1.25 kg/d) and lactose yields (1.89 vs. 2.00 kg/d) were increased, whereas milk urea nitrogen (14.0 vs. 12.7 mg/dL) was decreased, with the ECS diet. No effect of treatment on energy-corrected MY (ECM) was observed, but a trend was detected for increased ECM feed efficiency (1.45 vs. 1.50 kg of ECM/kg of DMI) for cows fed ECS compared with CON-fed cows. Daily CH4 emission was not affected by treatment, but emission intensity was decreased with the ECS diet (11.1 vs. 10.3 g/kg of milk, CON and ECS, respectively); CH4 emission intensity on ECM basis was not different between treatments. Rumen fermentation, apart from a reduced molar proportion of butyrate in ECS-fed cows, was not affected by treatment. Apparent total-tract digestibility of nutrients and urinary and fecal nitrogen excretions, apart from a trend for increased DM digestibility by ECS-fed cows, were not affected by treatment. Overall, ECS inclusion at 40% of dietary DM increased milk, milk protein, and lactose yields and feed efficiency, and tended to increase ECM feed efficiency but had no effect on ECM yield in dairy cows. The increased MY with ECS led to a decrease in enteric CH4 emission intensity, compared with the control silage.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Food Science
- Animal Science and Zoology