The dry season in central Mexico is a difficult time for small-scale dairy systems to meet feed requirements for their herds as pasture growth is limited. Conserved forage options are needed to complement pastures. The objective was to assess on-farm the production of dairy cows complemented with triticale silage (X. Triticosecale Witt. (TSL)) at two levels of inclusion (5.0 and 7.5 kg DM/d), grazing pastures of two grass species during the dry season: perennial ryegrass (PRG; Lolium perenne) or tall fescue (TFC; Lolium arundinaceum) (TFC) with white clover (Trifolium repens), and 4.65 kg DM/d concentrate. Experimental design was a 2 × 2 factorial in repeated 4 × 4 Latin squares. Chemical composition of TSL was 96 g CP/kg DM, 667 g NDF/kg DM, 713 g in vitro enzymatic digestibility of OM (IVEDOM)/kg DM, and pH of 4.6. There were differences (P < 0.05) in net herbage accumulation (NHA) and sward height between pastures, with higher NHA in TFC than that in PRG, although the chemical composition of PRG was higher (P < 0.05) in PC, IVEDOM, and estimated ME. There were no differences (P > 0.05) in milk yield (12.3 ± 2.63 kg/cow/day), milk compositions (33.1 ± 0.45 g milkfat/kg, 41 33.3 ± 0.21 g milk protein/kg, 47.9 ± 0.36 g lactose/kg, and 10.47 ± 2.25 mg MUN/dL), body condition score (2.4 ± 0.22), or live weight (490 ± 72.8 kg). At a higher inclusion of TSL, there was lower intake of pasture. Inclusion of 5.0 kg DM/cow/day of triticale silage better complements grazing and sustains moderate milk yields when pasture growth and intake are limited.
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Perennial ryegrass pasture
Tall fescue pasture
Neutral detergent fibre
Acid detergent fibre
In vitro enzymatic digestibility of organic matter
Net herbage accumulation
Estimated metabolizable Energy
Analysis of variance
Standard error of the mean
- SEMGS :
Standard error of the mean for main plot (grass species)
- SEMper :
Standard error of the mean for split plots (experimental periods)
Milk urea nitrogen
Body condition score
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Authors express gratitude to the farmer who participated in this experiment, whose privacy and that of his family is respected by not disclosing their names. This work was undertaken thanks to funding by the Autonomous University of the State of Mexico (Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México) through grant UAEM 3676/2014/CIA, and the Mexican National Council for Science and Technology (Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología–CONACYT) for the postgraduate grant for Felipe de Jesús González-Alcántara. Our thanks also to Ms. Maria de Lourdes Maya-Salazar and Ms. Laura Edith Contreras-Martínez for their assistance in laboratory analyses.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare there are no conflicts of interest.
Statement on ethical standards and animal rights
The paper reports an on-farm experiment undertaken with a participating farmer who had knowledge of the objectives of the work and was duly informed at all times, and his privacy and that of his family respected by not disclosing their names. Experimental procedures with dairy cows followed accepted procedures by Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México.
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González-Alcántara, F., Estrada-Flores, J.G., Morales-Almaraz, E. et al. Whole-crop triticale silage for dairy cows grazing perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne) or tall fescue (Lolium arundinaceum) pastures in small-scale dairy systems during the dry season in the highlands of Mexico. Trop Anim Health Prod 52, 1903–1910 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11250-020-02206-9
- Triticale silage
- Small-scale dairy systems