Effects of addition of nutritionally improved straw in dairy cow diets at 2 starch levels

Authors Organisations
Type Article
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10233-10244
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number11
Early online date10 Sep 2020
Publication statusPublished - 01 Nov 2020
Permanent link
Show download statistics
View graph of relations
Citation formats


The objective of this experiment was to explore the effects of different dietary neutral detergent fiber sources within diets of high-producing dairy cattle with low or high starch concentrations on milk yield and composition, dry matter intake (DMI), total-tract digestibility, nitrogen (N) partitioning, and rumen function and health. Holstein-Friesian cows in early- to mid-lactation (n = 12; 666 ± 67 kg of body weight at the start of the experiment) and dry cannulated Holstein-Frisian cows (n = 4; 878 ± 67 kg of body weight at the start of the experiment) were used in multiple 4 × 4 Latin square design experiment and were offered 4 different diets. The treatments were 50:50 forage-to-concentrate diets within a total mixed ration (TMR) consisting, on a dry matter (DM) basis, of 42.4% grass silage as the main forage, 7.6% chopped untreated wheat straw, or sodium hydroxide (NaOH) wheat straw pellets, known as nutritionally improved straw (NIS), and 50.0% of 1 of 2 different concentrates with low or high starch level (TMR starch level of 16.0 vs. 24.0% of DM, respectively). Four experimental periods were used, each consisting of a 21-d adaptation period and 7 d of sampling. Dry matter intake and milk yield were both affected by the type of straw included in the diet. A 1.6 kg/d higher DMI was seen when NIS was fed compared with untreated straw, resulting in a 1.7 kg/d higher milk yield. Milk protein concentration was affected by straw type and starch level, and it was 4 and 3% higher when NIS and high-starch diets were fed, respectively. Diets with NIS were more positively effective when fed with low levels of starch. These results illustrate that feeding NIS to high-producing lactating dairy cows fed low or high starch concentrations has a positive effect on performance.


  • neutral detergent fiber, nutritionally improved straw, starch