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Ruminant Nutrition and Forage Utilization
Asian-Australasian Journal of Animal Sciences 2006;19(10): 1455-1463.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.5713/ajas.2006.1455    Published online August 2, 2006.
Effects of Molasses at Different Levels in Concentrate Supplement on Milk Yield of Dairy Cows Grazing Setaria Grass (Setaria Sphacelata) Pasture in Fiji
V. Tamani Eroni, E. M. Aregheore*
Correspondence:  E. M. Aregheore,
Effects of different levels of molasses in a concentrate supplement on milk yield of cows grazing Setaria grass pastures were investigated. Thirty Friesian cows, 6-7 years old with mean pre-experimental body weight of 428??.5 kg, in early stage of lactation were randomly allotted to five dietary treatments in a completely randomized design experiment that lasted for 126 days. Experimental dietary treatments were forage alone and forage/concentrate mixtures with molasses included at 0, 5, 10 or 15% levels designated as T1, T2, T3, T4 and T5, respectively. The parameters studied were voluntary dry matter (DM) intake, average daily live weight change (LWC), milk yield, body condition score (BCS) and apparent nutrient digestibility coefficients. The DM and energy contents of Setaria grass were low compared to the concentrate diets. Fibre fractions-NDF, ADF, ADL, hemicellulose and cellulose; and gross energy were higher in concentrate mixtures than in the forage. Total DM intake (forage+concentrate mixtures) was significantly higher (p<0.001) in cows on the concentrate mixtures. LWC was not significantly different (p>0.05) between the cows. Average milk yields were significantly different (p<0.05) between cows. Fat corrected milk (FCM) was similar among cows in the treatments. BCS was better (p<0.001) in cows on concentrate mixtures. Digestibilities of DM, CP, NDF, ADF, ADL, OM, and energy were significantly higher (p<0.001) in cows on T2, T3, T4 and T5 than in those on T1. There were no significant differences in the digestibility of DM, CP, NDF, ADF and ADL (p>0.001) in cows on concentrate mixtures. This study therefore demonstrated that lactating dairy cows in Fiji need a level of readily fermented energy source such as molasses in their diets; however, a level above 10% is not nutritionally suitable for lactating dairy cows. Based on data on production parameters-milk yield, fat corrected milk, body condition score and apparent nutrient digestibility coefficients- molasses levels that range between 5-10% are recommended, however, 10% is the best and therefore recommended for inclusion in the concentrate mixture of lactating dairy cows on a basal diet of Setaria sphacelata in Fiji.
Keywords: Setaria sphacelata; Molasses, Fed Intake; Milk Yield; Dairy Cow; Nutrient Utilization
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