Performance of Holstein-Zebu cows under partial replacement of corn by coffee hulls

Desempenho de vacas Holandês-Zebu sob substituição parcial de milho por casca de café

Replacement of corn by citrus pulp or coffee hulls explores the potential of dairy cows to digest fiber-rich feedstuffs. However, for the State of Minas Gerais, Brazil, replacing citrus pulp by coffee hulls may reduce milk production costs, since citrus pulp needs to be imported from another state, while coffee hulls are highly available at essentially no cost. The objective of this experiment was to evaluate the performance of crossbred cows fed concentrates containing 25% coffee hulls (Coffee) or 25% citrus pulp (Pulp) as a replacement for ground corn grain (Corn; 47.4% in the concentrate). Forty-two cows were blocked based on milk yield and allocated to one of the three treatments for 56 days, following a 14-day standardization period. Concentrates were fed twice a day during the milking routine, 1 kg to each 2.5 kg of the average milk yield for the block, determined at the end of the standardization period. The daily 3.5% fat-corrected milk yield was 7.5 kg for Corn, 7.9 kg for Pulp and 6.2 kg for Coffee (P < 0.01). Cows consuming coffee hulls had greater body weight loss (P = 0.03). Feed orts during milking amounted to 30% of the concentrate offered in Coffee, greater than the other treatments throughout the experimental period (P < 0.01). The mean daily intake of coffee hulls was 575 grams. The frequency of cows reluctant to enter the milking parlor yoke was 10% for Coffee and 1% for the other two treatments (P < 0.01). There was no detectable effect of coffee hulls on cow temperament and frequency of defecation during milking, as well as on somatic cell count (P > 0.26). The Pulp concentrate provided the highest financial efficiency, while Coffee was the least efficient (P < 0.01). These data suggest that the potential of use of coffee hulls is low when added at rates equal to or greater than 25% of the concentrate offered during the milking routine.

Brazil; temperament; citrus pulp; crossbred cow; byproduct


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