Effects of an Enzyme Feed Additive on Extent of Digestion and Milk Production of Lactating Dairy Cows1

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      A study was conducted using lactating Holstein cows with ruminal and duodenal cannulas in a 4 × 4 Latin square design to investigate fibrolytic enzyme supplementation on site and extent of nutrient digestion. The four diets consisted of 45% concentrate, 10% barley silage, and 45% cubed alfalfa hay (dry matter basis) and differed in enzyme supplementation: 1) control cubes, 2) cubes treated with 1 g of enzyme mixture/kg of cubes, 3) cubes treated with 2 g of enzyme mixture/kg of cubes, and 4) both concentrate and cubes treated with 1 g of enzyme mixture/kg of dry matter. The enzyme supplement contained primarily cellulase and xylanase activities. Digestion of organic matter and neutral detergent fiber in the total tract was higher for cows fed the high dosage of enzyme than for cows fed the control cubes. Ruminal digestibility of crude protein was higher, but that of organic matter and neutral detergent fiber was only numerically higher, for cows fed the high dosage of enzyme compared with that of cows fed the control cubes. Higher ruminal digestibility associated with the high dosage of enzyme resulted in more microbial protein synthesis. Milk production increased for cows fed the high dosage of enzyme compared with cows fed the control cubes and effects of the addition of enzyme on milk composition were minimal. The results demonstrated the benefits of using a fibrolytic enzyme additive to enhance feed digestion and milk production by dairy cows. The response to enzyme supplementation was affected more by amount of enzyme than by whether the enzyme was added to forage or concentrate.

      Key words

      Abbreviation Key:

      ERD (effective ruminal degradability), HH (diet that contained alfalfa hay cubes treated with 2g of enzyme mixture/kg of hay), HT (diet that contained both alfalfa hay cubes and concentrate treated with 1g of enzyme mixture/kg of DM), LAB (liquid-associated bacteria), LH (diet that contained alfalfa hay cubes treated with 1g of enzyme mixture/kg of hay), SAB (solid-attached bacteria)


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