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Effect of different feeding strategies on lactation performance of Holstein and Normande dairy cows

Abstract : The dairy farming systems of Western Europe are based on a simple feeding system composed of grazed and preserved grass, maize silage and concentrates in variable proportions. There is, nevertheless, a great diversity of feeding strategies between dairy farms. Over 5 years, we studied the direct and delayed effects of four feeding strategies on the lactation and reproduction performances of Holstein and Normande dairy cows. The four feeding strategies (denoted Hh, Hl, Lh and Ll) correspond to two total mixed rations applied in winter from calving to turnout (maize silage with 30% concentrate or grass silage with 15% concentrate), which were subsequently crossed with two levels of concentrate supplementation at grazing to 210 days. Each year, 72 dairy cows managed in grouped winter calving were assigned to the four strategies. Finally, the results of 325 lactations and 295 inseminated cows were analysed. The four strategies resulted in considerable variation in nutrient intake and, in particular, in differences in concentrates consumed, with values of 1407, 1026, 773 and 392 kg dry matter per cow for strategies Hh, Lh, Hl and Ll, respectively. Total milk production (7567, 7015, 6720 and 6238 kg per cow for treatments Hh, Lh, Hl and Ll, respectively), milk fat content (39.0, 37.1, 40.3 and 38.5 g/kg, respectively), milk protein content (33.0, 31.8, 33.1 and 31.6 g/kg, respectively), and the character of the lactation and body condition curves were all highly sensitive to the strategies applied. While no significant interaction was detected on total lactation yield, the Holstein cows reacted more dramatically to each dietary change at each period, compared with the Normande cows. Winter feeding did not affect the production of milk at pasture whereas, at pasture, the milk from the cows of the H groups in winter was higher in milk fat and protein content. Reproduction performance was unaffected by feeding strategy. The Holstein cows, well fed and producing the most milk (Hh and Hb), had the lowest rate of success at first artificial inseminations (21.5%). The dual-purpose Normande cows had a pregnancy rate 10 points higher than Holstein cows. This comparison of strongly contrasting feeding strategies confirms the immediate reactivity of dairy cows (in terms of milk performance and body condition) to variations of nutritive intake throughout lactation, with a weak carryover effect from feeding levels early in lactation. In contrast, reproduction performance was less sensitive to variation in nutrient supply.
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Luc Delaby, Philippe Faverdin, Guillaume Michel, Catherine Disenhaus, Jean Louis Peyraud. Effect of different feeding strategies on lactation performance of Holstein and Normande dairy cows. Animal, Published by Elsevier (since 2021) / Cambridge University Press (until 2020), 2009, 3 (6), pp.891-905. ⟨10.1017/S1751731109004212⟩. ⟨hal-00730121⟩



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