• condensed tannins;
  • dairy cows;
  • grazing;
  • pasture;
  • silages


A trial was conducted to compare benefits obtained from feeding four types of silage. There were two silages that contained condensed tannins (CT)—lotus (Lotus corniculatus) and sulla (Hedysarum coronarium)—maize silage or traditional ryegrass pasture silage, all fed at 5 kg dry matter (DM) cow−1 day−1 with restricted pasture (RP). Cows on the RP (control) treatment and those fed the silage treatments were offered an allowance of 25 kg pasture DM cow−1 day−1, while the full pasture (FP) cows were offered 50 kg pasture DM cow−1 day−1. Silage supplementation increased both DM intake and milk yield compared with cows given RP only. Cows on the lotus silage supplement and the FP treatment had significantly higher milk production than the other silage supplemented cows (P < 0.001). For cows given lotus silage, the high milk yield was probably due to a combination of the higher nutritive value of the silage and possibly to the protein-sparing effects of the lotus condensed tannins because the total DM intake of cows fed the lotus silage was the same as that of cows given the pasture and maize silages (P > 0.25). The high milk yield of the FP treatment was mainly a result of the cows having a higher intake of pasture than cows on all the other treatments. This study demonstrated the potential benefit of silage supplementation, particularly with lotus silage, for increased milksolids yield in summer when low pasture growth rates and quality may otherwise limit production. Copyright © 2006 Society of Chemical Industry