Effect of protein source and soluble carbohydrate addition on rumen fermentation and lactation performance of Holstein cows

M. E. McCormick, D. D. Redfearn, J. D. Ward, D. C. Blouin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Rumen in vitro and in vivo experiments were conducted to evaluate the effect of rumen undegradable protein and soluble carbohydrates on rumen ammonia N release and lactation performance of Holstein cows. In the in vitro experiment, freeze-dried annual ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum, LAM) pasture was supplemented 1:1 with ground corn-based grain supplements containing expeller or solvent soybean meal with sucrose or lactose supplements at 0, 2.5, or 5% of dry matter (DM). The ammonia release rate was slower with expeller compared with solvent soybean meal-supplemented diets. Sucrose supplementation at the 5% level lowered rumen ammonia concentrations, but lactose-fortification of grain supplements was without effect. In the in vivo study, 32 multiparous Holstein cows were blocked according to milk yield and randomly assigned to corn-based grain supplements containing 1) solvent soybean meal, 2) solvent soybean meal + 5% sucrose supplement, 3) expeller soybean meal, or 4) expeller soybean meal + 5% sucrose supplement. Grain supplements and fresh annual ryegrass were component fed at approximately a 1:1 grain to forage ratio (DM basis). Forage DM intake was higher for cows receiving solvent soybean meal supplemented grain supplements than those receiving expeller soybean meal (12.2 ± 2.1 vs. 11.4 ± 2.2 kg/d), but total DM intake was similar for all diets (22.8 ± 2.9 kg/d). Fat-corrected milk yield was similar for all diets averaging 37.5, 38.2, 39.1, and 37.6 kg/d for diets 1 to 4, respectively. Rumen fermentation, milk urea nitrogen, and body condition were unaffected by supplements; however, cows fed grain supplement 1 utilized dietary energy more efficiently than cows offered the other dietary treatments. High dietary crude protein concentrations may have limited lactation response to rumen undegradable protein and sugar.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1686-1697
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Dairy cow
  • Lactation
  • Rumen undegradable protein
  • Soluble carbohydrate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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