Effects of essential oils on digestion, ruminal fermentation, rumen microbial populations, milk production, and milk composition in dairy cows fed alfalfa silage or corn silage.
Three midlactation Holstein cows with ruminal and duodenal cannulas were used in a 3 x 3 Latin square design to determine whether ruminal or postruminal alterations in metabolism were responsible for the changes in milk composition that frequently are associated with dietary fish meal. Cows were offered a diet of 60:40 forage to concentrate (aliquots at 6-h intervals) that was supplemented with isonitrogenous amounts of soybean meal (1.3 kg of DM/d) dosed into the rumen or fish meal (1.0 kg DM/d) dosed either into the rumen or into the duodenum. The DMI, ruminal NDF digestion, and flows of total N and microbial N to the duodenum decreased for cows receiving fish meal. Dietary N flow increased when fish meal was dosed into the rumen. Total concentration of ruminal VFA was greater for cows receiving the soybean meal treatment; however, treatment had no effect on the ratio of ruminal acetate plus butyrate to propionate. Milk and FCM yields were unaffected by treatment, but milk fat content decreased, and milk protein content increased when cows were supplemented with fish meal. The difference in mammary arteriovenous glucose difference decreased when cows were dosed with fish meal. Changes in plasma NEFA and triglycerides were small and inconsistent. Results from this experiment suggest that effects of fish meal on milk composition are due to postruminal alterations in metabolism.