Four ruminally cannulated Holstein cows in midlactation were randomly assigned to a 4 × 4 Latin square design with a 2 × 2 factorial arrangement of treatments to evaluate two nonstructural carbohydrate sources (corn or barley) with two sources of ruminally undegradable protein (soybean meal or extruded soybean meal) on milk production, ruminal fermentation, and digesta passage rates. Milk production (25.1, 27.5, 23.8, and 23.5 kg/d for the corn and soybean meal, corn and extruded soybean meal, barley and soybean meal, and barley and extruded soybean meal, respectively) and dry matter intake per unit of body weight (3.9, 4.1, 3.7, and 3.7%) were greater for cows fed corn than for cows fed barley and were similar for cows fed soybean meal or extruded soybean meal. Concentrations of ruminal NH3-N were greater for cows fed the corn and soybean meal diet than for cows fed other diets (15.0, 10.4, 9.0, and 11.3 mg/dl). Rumen volatile fatty acid concentrations were greater for cows fed corn than barley (133, 139, 121, and 118 μmol/ml). Fractional passage rates of solids from the rumen were greater for cows fed the barley and soybean meal diet than cows fed the corn and soybean meal diet (3.4, 3.9, 4.2, and 3.8%/h), and ruminal liquid dilution rates were similar for cows fed all diets (11.2, 11.0, 11.1, and 11.9%/h). The attempt to synchronize ruminal nonstructural carbohydrate and crude protein degradability produced minimal benefits for midlactation dairy cows.
- Nonstructural carbohydrates
- Ruminal undegradable protein