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The effects of a nonionic surfactant ’tween 80’ on the performance of lactating dairy cows fed a total mixed ration Berkshire, Jeffrey David


The effects of a nonionic surfactant, Tween 80 (T-80), on the performance and nutrient digestibility of dairy cows fed a total mixed ration (TMR) were evaluated. Fifteen, multiparous Holstein cows in early lactation were randomly assigned to treatment groups in a replicated 3 x 3 Latin Square design involving three, 28 d experimental periods. Treatment groups were balanced in terms of days in milk and estimated 305 d milk production. Cows had ad libitum access to one of the following diets: 1) TMR consisting of 45% dairy concentrate, 33% grass silage and 22% corn silage (Control); 2) TMR treated with 0.1% T-80; and 3) TMR treated with 0.2%T-80; all on a DM basis. Individual feed intake and milk yield were recorded daily. Milk, blood, and rumen fluid samples were taken during the third week of each period. Total collection of urine and feces from twelve cows (four from each group) occurred during the last five days of each experimental period. Average daily intake and milk yield was not influenced by level of T-80 in the TMR (P>0.05). Differences in milk protein percentage (P0.05). Blood urea nitrogen was approaching significance (P=0.08) and implicative of 0.2% T-80 having positive effects on N-utilization over the Control. Cows consuming 0.2% T-80 had higher rumen levels of acetate (mol 100 mol"1) (P0.05) from the Control. Observed differences in acetate molar percentages between treatments did not contribute to differences in molar percentages of volatile fatty acids within treatments. The acetate to propionate ratio between T-80 treatments was approaching significance (P=0.08) with 0.2% T-80 having increased acetate production and 0.1% T- 80 increased propionate production, however, neither treatment was different (P>0.05) from the Control. No differences (P>0.05) were observed in apparent digestibility estimates of dry matter, crude protein, acid-detergent (ADF) or neutral-detergent fiber (NDF). A P-value of 0.10 was suggestive of apparent NDF digestibility being lower in 0.2% T-80 treated cows, and when compared to ADF, indicative of decreased hemicellulose degradation. No treatment difference (P>0.05) was observed for efficiency of milk yield. Further research is required before definite conclusions concerning the experimental treatment levels of T-80 are made. Future work to: 1) investigate prefeeding aerobic nutrient losses from the TMR as a result of T-80 application; 2) confirm the effective level of T-80 in prepared diets; and 3) complete a detailed examination of the effects of T-80 on the rumen microbial population balance and acclimatization rates were suggested.

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