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Collaborative project: Optimized conservation of grasses and forage legumes for an improved protein supply of dairy cows. Subproject 1 (OptiKons)


Project code: 2818300116
Contract period: 01.12.2017 - 31.01.2021
Budget: 219,879 Euro
Purpose of research: Applied research
Keywords: cattle, animal nutrition, animal feed, grassland, resource protection, resource efficiency, lucerne, milk, grasses

In dairy farms, nitrogen (N) is often not efficiently used. Grasses and forage legumes provide regional and inexpensive feedstuffs with a big potential for an improved N supply. Conservation causes a decrease of the protein value which cannot be totally prevented but influenced by several factors. In this project, two different approaches for improving the energy and protein value of forages in ruminant nutrition will be evaluated. The first aim is to chemically characterize the different forages. As feed intake is an important factor in animal production the conserved forages will then be used to study the effect of the different conservation methods on preference, feed intake and milk yield of goats. In this way, the different approachesof influencing the protein value of forages will be extensively assessed such that recommendations for the on-farm management can be provided. Perennial ryegrass, orchardgrass, lucerne and red clover will be used as substrates and following treatments will be conducted: - Specifically influencing the substrates to assess the effects of different factors (substrate, degree and rate of wilting) on plant-specific enzyme activity as well as on energy content and protein quality of the conserved forages (24 variants) - Influencing the microbial activity (impairment of proteolytic clostridia) during the fermentation process by addition of hydrolysable tannins (24 variants) Afterwards, the conserved forages will be analysed chemically with focus on the protein value for ruminants. In the third part, preference and feeding trials with goats will be conducted.

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