Salivary secretion during meals in lactating dairy cattle

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Four multiparous Holstein cows in midlactation were used in a 4 x 4 Latin square to evaluate whether source of forage influenced salivary secretion during eating in lactating dairy cows. The forages were allocated separately from the pelleted concentrates. Cows were offered 1 of 4 forages each period: barley silage, alfalfa silage, long-stemmed alfalfa hay, or chopped barley straw. Saliva secretion was measured during the morning meal by collecting masticates through the rumen cannula at the cardia of each cow. Rate of salication (213 g/min) was not affected by forage source. However, the forage sources differed in eating rate (g og DM/min), which led to differences in ensalivation of forages (g of saliva/g of DM and g of saliva/g of NDF). On the basis of DM, ensalivation (g of saliva/g of DM) was greatest for straw (7.23) and similar for barley sialge, alfalfa silage, and alfalfa hay (4.15, 3.40, and 4.34 g/g of DM, respectively). Higher ensalivation of straw could be accounted for by its higher neutral detergent fiber (NDF) content; ensalivation of NDF (g of saliva/g of NDF) was actually greatest for long-stemmed alfalfa hay (12.4) and similar for the other chopped forages (8.9). Cows consumed concentrate about 3 to 12 times faster than the various forages (DM basis), and ensalivation of concentrate was much lower (1.12 g of saliva/g of DM) than for forages. Feed characteristics such as particle size, DM, and NDF content affect salivary output during eating by affecting the eating rate. Slower eating rate and greater time spent eating may help prevent ruminal acidosis by increasing the total daily salivary secretion in dairy cows.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Pages (from-to)2077-2081
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 2008

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