Dry matter intake and body condition score change of dairy cows grazing fodder beet, kale and kale-oat forage systems in winter


  • G.R. Edwards
  • J.M. de Ruiter
  • D.E. Dalley
  • J.B. Pinxterhuis
  • K.C. Cameron
  • R.H. Bryant
  • H.J.di B J. Malcolm
  • D.F. Chapman




Abstract Crop dry matter (DM) yield, DM utilisation and body condition score (BCS) of dairy cows were measured over two winters on an irrigated stony, free-draining Balmoral soil for three crop grazing systems: fodder beet (FB); early-sown kale (EK); and late-sown kale with oats grown in sequence (LK). There were two replicates of each treatment, with 35-58 cows per treatment group. Allocations of crop and supplements (kg DM/cow/day) were: FB, 8 kg fodder beet + 6 kg grass baleage; EK, 14 kg kale + 3 kg barley straw; LK, 11 kg kale + 5 kg green chop oat baleage. Pre-grazing crop DM yield (t DM/ha) was higher in FB (20.1) than EK (14.6) and LK (12.9). DM utilisation was high in all treatments averaging 99.6%, 90.5% and 87.1% for FB, EK and LK, respectively. Body condition score change over the 8-week winter-feeding period was similar for cows offered FB (+0.76), EK (+0.66) and LK (+0.76). Allocation of feed quantity is more important in determining BCS gain than the type of crop and supplement fed. Keywords: Brassica oleracea L., Beta vulgaris L., metabolisable energy







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