Production responses of Jersey cows on three different feeding systems of pasture, concentrate and a total mixed ration

Author: C.J.C. Muller & J.A. Botha
Year: 2013
Issue: 1
Volume: 6
Page: 4 - 14

 In this study the production performance of 26 multiparous Jersey cows in three production systems was compared over standard lactation periods in a year-round calving pattern. The production systems were: (1) pasture plus 3kg concentrate/cow/day (AG), (2) pasture plus 4 kg oat hay/cow/day and 6 kg concentrate/cow/day (LG) and (3) total mixed ration (TMR) fed ad libitum (ZG). Pasture intake of cows in systems 1 and 2 was estimated with a falling plate disc meter by using pre-and post-grazing regression equations of pasture dry matter (DM) regressed on disc meter height. Pasture intake of Jersey cows was 10.7 and 4.7 kg DM/d for the AG- and LG-systems respectively. The estimated total daily feed intake of cows in the AG-, LG- and ZG-system was 14.2, 14.7 and 15.1 kg DM respectively. Production parameters did not differ between production systems with the exception of protein percentage while protein and milk yield tended to differ. Cows in the ZG system tended to have a higher condition score at conception than cows in the other treatments. Cows in the AG and LG systems lost more live weight during the first two months of the lactation than cows in the ZG system, i.e. -21 and 16 kg vs. -3 kg/cow. Results indicate that the production performance of Jersey cows on pasture-based production systems with appropriate buffer feeding could be similar to cows being fed a TMR.  


Keywords: production system
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