Particle length of silages affects apparent ruminal synthesis of B vitamins in lactating dairy cows.

Castagnino, D.S., Kammes, K.L., Allen, M.S., Gervais, R., Chouinard, P.Y., and Girard, C.L. (2016). "Particle length of silages affects apparent ruminal synthesis of B vitamins in lactating dairy cows.", Journal of Dairy Science (JDS). doi : 10.3168/jds.2016-11274  Access to full text


Effects of particle length of silages on apparent ruminal synthesis (ARS) and postruminal supply of B vitamins were evaluated in 2 feeding trials. Diets containing alfalfa (trial 1) or orchardgrass (trial 2) silages, chopped to either 19 mm (long cut, LC) or 10 mm (short cut, SC) theoretical particle length, as the sole forage were offered to ruminally and duodenally cannulated lactating Holstein cows in crossover design experiments. Forages chopped to a theoretical particle length of 19 and 10 mm had mean particles sizes of 14.1 and 8.1 mm, respectively, in trial 1, and 15.3 and 11.3 mm, respectively, in trial 2. Trial 1 was conducted with 13 multiparous cows in two 19-d treatment periods; both diets contained approximately 20% forage neutral detergent fiber (NDF), 25% total NDF, and forage-to-concentrate ratios were approximately 47:53. Trial 2 was conducted with 15 cows in two 18-d treatment periods; both diets contained approximately 23% forage NDF, 28% total NDF, and had a forage-to-concentrate ratio of 50:50. Thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, folates, and vitamin B12 were measured in feed and duodenal content. Daily ARS was calculated as the duodenal flow minus the intake. In trial 1, daily intake of individual B vitamins was increased with the LC diet, but ARS of thiamine, riboflavin, vitamin B6, and folates was reduced. In trial 2, except for folates, intakes of the other B vitamins were decreased with the LC diets, whereas ARS of riboflavin, niacin, and vitamin B6 was increased. Daily ARS of thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, and vitamin B6 were correlated negatively with their intake, suggesting that ruminal bacteria reduced their synthesis when dietary supply increased. Microbial activity could have also reduced degradation of thiamine, riboflavin, and niacin, which is supported by (1) the negative correlation between ARS of these vitamins and ruminal pH or microbial N duodenal flow; and (2) the positive correlation between ARS and ruminal concentrations of volatile fatty acids. Folate ARS followed the opposite correlation pattern. Nevertheless, in spite of differences in intake and ARS, with both forages, decreasing particle length of silages had limited effects on the amounts of B vitamins reaching the sites of absorption in the small intestine of dairy cows.

Date modified: