Milk production, body weight, body condition score, activity, and rumination of organic dairy cattle grazing two different pasture systems incorporating cool-and warm-season forages

Kathryn E. Ritz, Bradley J Heins, Roger D Moon, Craig C. Sheaffer, Sharon L. Weyers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Organic dairy cows were used to evaluate the effect of two organic pasture production systems (temperate grass species and warm-season annual grasses and cool-season annuals compared with temperate grasses only) across two grazing seasons (May to October of 2014 and 2015) on milk production, milk components (fat, protein, milk urea nitrogen (MUN), somatic cell score (SCS)), body weight, body condition score (BCS), and activity and rumination (min/day). Cows were assigned to two pasture systems across the grazing season at an organic research dairy in Morris, Minnesota. Pasture System 1 was cool-season perennials (CSP) and Pasture System 2 was a combination of System 1 and warm-season grasses and cool-season annuals. System 1 and System 2 cows had similar milk production (14.7 and 14.8 kg d−1), fat percentage (3.92% vs. 3.80%), protein percentage (3.21% vs. 3.17%), MUN (12.5 and 11.5 mg dL−1), and SCS (4.05 and 4.07), respectively. Cows in System 1 had greater daily rumination (530 min/day) compared to cows in System 2 (470 min/day). In summary, warm-season annual grasses may be incorporated into grazing systems for pastured dairy cattle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number264
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalAnimals
Volume11
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2021

Keywords

  • Grazing
  • Organic dairy cows
  • Sorghum-sudangrass
  • Teff

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