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Graded supplementation of chestnut tannins to dairy cows fed protein-rich spring pasture: effects on indicators of protein utilization

Kapp-Bitter, A.N.; Diekhoefer, U.; Suglo, E.; Baumgartner, L.; Kreuzer, M. and Leiber, F. (2020) Graded supplementation of chestnut tannins to dairy cows fed protein-rich spring pasture: effects on indicators of protein utilization. Journal of Animal and Feed Sciences, 29 (2), pp. 97-104.

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Online at: https://doi.org/10.22358/jafs/121053/2020


An on-farm experiment was conducted in order to evaluate effects of graded supplementation with chestnut tannin extract to cows in situations of excessive dietary protein supply on a low-input organic dairy farm. Respectively 10 Swiss Fleckvieh cows received twice per day 1 kg of experimental pellets containing either 0, 50 or 100 g/kg of chestnut extract (targeted at approximately 0, 5 and 10 g extract/kg of total dietary dry matter). Experimental feeding lasted for 21 days. Measurements and collection of milk, faeces and urine spot samples were performed in weeks 0 (baseline), 1 and 3. All cows were kept in one herd on pasture; fresh grass and grass hay were provided in the barn during night. Milk yield was recorded and cows wore sensor halters for recording chewing activity. In urine, total nitrogen and purine derivatives were measured; faeces were analyzed for protein, fibre and particle fractions; in milk, solid concentrations were determined. The data was analyzed with a general linear model. Cows did not show differences in general eating and rumination behaviour, but needed time to accept the tannin-containing pellets. Milk yield and composition were not affected by treatment, except for lactose content. No relevant differences between treatments were found for urinary and faecal parameters. In conclusion, although technically easy to supplement, pellets containing chestnut tannin extract were not readily accepted by the cows and effects on protein digestion and metabolism were not found. Successful on-farm application of chestnut extract in order to improve nitrogen efficiency therefore seems questionable.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:cattle, protein efficiency, low-input, hydrolysable tannin, field experiment, chewing sensor, animal feeding
Subjects: Animal husbandry > Production systems > Dairy cattle
Animal husbandry > Feeding and growth
Research affiliation: Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Animal Husbandry and Breeding
Deposited By: Forschungsinstitut für biologischen Landbau, FiBL
ID Code:38149
Deposited On:22 Jun 2020 10:25
Last Modified:22 Jun 2020 10:25
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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