There is a daily pattern of feed intake in the dairy cow, and feeding a single total mixed ration results in variation in the amount of fermentable substrate entering the rumen over the day. The object of this study was to determine if feeding multiple rations over the day that complement the pattern of feed intake would stabilize rumen pool sizes and fermentation. Nine ruminally cannulated cows were used in a 3 × 3 Latin square design with 23-d periods. Diets were a control diet [33.3% neutral detergent fiber (NDF)], a low-fiber diet (LF; 29.6% NDF), and a high-fiber diet (HF; 34.8% NDF). The LF and HF diets were balanced to provide the same nutrient composition as the control diet when cows were fed 3 parts of LF and 7 parts of HF. Cows on the control treatment (CON) were fed at 0900. h, cows on the high/low treatment (H/L) were fed HF at 70% of daily offering at 0900. h and LF at 30% of daily offering at 2200. h, and cows on the low/high (L/H) treatment were fed LF at 30% of daily offering at 0900. h and HF at 70% of daily offering at 1300. h. All treatments were fed at 110% of daily intake. Preplanned contrasts compared CON with H/L and H/L with L/H. Feeding the LF diet in the evening resulted in a large increase in the amount of feed consumed immediately after feed delivery at that feeding. Rumen digesta starch concentration increased and NDF concentration decreased following feeding of the LF diet in both the L/H and H/L treatments. Starch pool size also increased following feeding of the LF diet in the evening and tended to increase after feeding the LF diet in the morning. Rumen ammonia concentration was increased following feeding of the HF diet in the morning and the LF diet in the evening in the H/L treatment. Additionally, cis-9 C18:1 and cis-9,. cis-12 18:2 are higher in concentrate feeds and were increased after feeding the LF diet in both treatments. Trans fatty acid isomers of the normal and alternate biohydrogenation pathways followed a daily pattern, and the H/L treatment increased isomers of the alternate pathway during the overnight period following the evening feeding of the LF diet. Additionally, C17:0 decreased during the overnight period in the H/L treatment. Feeding multiple rations over the day changed feeding behavior, and the combined effect of diet composition and feeding pattern resulted in a change in rumen nutrient pool sizes and fermentation products. Feeding the low-fiber diet in the evening resulted in a large increase in feed intake after feed delivery and did not increase starch intake during the overnight period. The H/L treatment failed to stabilize rumen fermentation because of the shift in the feeding pattern. Feeding strategies that feed multiple diets over the day must integrate diet composition and feeding behavior to achieve the desired effect on rumen nutrient pools and fermentation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Food Science
- Animal Science and Zoology