The effects of feeding fodder beet to dairy cows offered silage ad libitum


Dr D. J. Roberts, The West of Scotland Agricultural College, Crichton Royal Farm, Mid Park, Bankend Road, Dumfries DG1 4SZ, UK.


In a 16-week winter feeding experiment, 48 autumn calving cows and heifers were used to compare a control diet, with two diets including fodder beet at a low and a high level. The control diet was ad libitum silage and 6 kg d-1 of concentrates (13.4 MJ (kg DM)-1 of ME and 197 g (kg DM)-1 of CP). The cows offered fodder beet were fed the control diet (C) plus fodder beet at either 2 (L) or 4 (H) kg DM d-1. Soya bean meal was offered with the fodder beet at 0.5 or 1.0 kg d-1 for diets L and H, respectively.

Total dry matter and metabolizable energy intakes were 15.2,16.4 and 17.3 kg DM d-1; 177, 195 and 211 MJ d-1 for treatments C, L and H, respectively. The mean milk yields were not significantly affected by the feeding of fodder beet. There was a significant improvement in the fat and protein content of the milk and yield of constituents. The milk composition and yield of solids were: fat content 42.3,44.2 and 45.9 (s.e.d. 1.25) g kg-1; protein content 33.0, 34.5, 35.3 (s.e.d. 0.76) g kg-1; fat yield 964,1027,1095(s.e.d. 63.2); protein yield 757, 801, 841 (s.e.d. 48.8) for treatments C, L and H, respectively. The treatments had no significant effect on live weight or condition score change.