The orginal article was published by Amaferm, a silage inoculant supplier whose use of undigested NDF (uNDF) and other measures of forage digestibility are closely aligned with our philosophy and goals to grow more digestible forage.
Fiber Group Continues its Work
An informal “Fiber Group” has been working on improving our ability to model rumen fiber turnover. The group consists of researchers from Cornell University, Miner Institute, University of Bologna, Fencrest, Mertens Innovation & Research, and various scientists from the industry. In particular, we have conducted feeding studies at Miner and Bologna to evaluate dietary uNDF and its effect on rumen fill, turnover, and dry matter intake. At Miner Institute the focus has been on corn and haycrop silage-based diets, while Bologna has focused on dry alfalfa hay-based diets due to the feed restrictions inherent in Parmigiano Reggiano cheese production. Cornell is planning studies to evaluate how uNDF from non-forage sources of fiber compares with forage uNDF.
What Does Our Research Tell Us So Far?
All of the details on diet ingredients, nutrient composition and cow responses can be found in the 2014 and 2012 Cornell Nutrition Conference proceedings (Cotanch et al., 2014; Grant and Cotanch, 2012). At Miner Institute, we evaluated diets:
- With a wide range in corn silage source and amount
- Ranging between 36 and 55% corn silage (DM basis)
- Containing conventional versus brown midrib corn silage that varied by 10%-units in NDF digestibility, and some diets have contained up to 10% added chopped straw to maintain chewing activity as forage percentage was reduced from 52 to 39% (DM basis).
- Overall, diets contained between 39 and 68% total forage.