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Characterization of feeding models used on dairy farms in Asturias (Spain): influence on milk performance

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Authors: C. Santiago, F. Vicente, J.D. Jiménez‑Calderón, A. Soldado y A. Martínez‑Fernández
Issue: 113-4 (335-346)
Topic: Animal Production
Keywords: Dairy cow, feeding management, forages, concentrate, milk performance

The models of dairy cow production are traditionally based on the usable agricultural area for maize culture. However, the composition of the diets varies throughout the year, because of the annual dynamic change of forage production, the forage rotation, the different cow requirements according to changes in the physiological state, etc. So, the crop area cannot always be associated with the ration. Therefore, the aim of this study was to identify the different feeding models used in dairy farms in the Principality of Asturias (Spain). In order to achieve this, sixteen dairy farms were selected according to grazing situation and the land destined for maize culture. A survey was compiled quarterly since summer of 2014 to spring of 2015. The farmers were interviewed about production and feed offered, and feed and milk were sampled. The ingredients of the ration and their amounts offered were analyzed by cluster analysis to establish actual feeding models. Seven feeding models were identified according to the main ingredient of the ration. The feeding model affects milk production, milk composition and the concentrate efficiency. Maize silage has become the mainstay of the diet in dairy farms. Increasing the amount of maize silage in the ration improves the milk content in protein, lactose and solids-non-fat, while the concentration of fat content was not affected.

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