Low-starch diets for high-producing cows

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What happens to the milk production of high-producing cows when you feed low-starch diets?

In a study at the Miner Agricultural Research Institute, Heather Dann and colleagues fed diets containing 18 percent, 21 percent or 25 percent starch to cows producing about 95 pounds of milk per day.

"We were really challenging this low-starch system, and we didn't see any difference in milk yield or milk components," Dann said last month at the Tri-State Dairy Nutrition Conference.

Milk fat averaged 3.5 percent and milk protein about 3.1 percent across treatments. Feed efficiency averaged 1.6 across treatments. Ruminal fermentation also was not adversely affected by the low-starch diets.

"I think there's a real opportunity to lower our current starch content below 23 percent," Dann said.

However, she pointed out that the study was short-term. "I think this is an area that needs further work."

To read abstract #583, which summarizes the research, click here.

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