Except for brown midrib (BMR) hybrids, differences in rumen fermentation, digestion, intake and milk production among silage and grain hybrid types were mostly minimal in research papers studied by University of Wisconsin dairy scientists.
They analyzed 45 research reports covering hybrids that differed in either stalk or grain characteristics. The stalk-trait categories were conventional, dual-purpose, or low-normal fiber digestibility hybrids; BMR hybrids; high-fiber digestibility hybrids and leafy hybrids. The grain-trait types included conventional, NutriDense, high-oil and waxy hybrids. The researchers also compared genetically modified (GM) hybrids with their genetically similar non-biotech counterparts.
High-oil hybrids had a negative impact on milkfat and milk protein percentages. All other differences were minimal among hybrids differing in grain type. Except for higher dry matter intakes and milk production for BMR and high-fiber-digestibility hybrids, differences among stalk-trait hybrids were small, too.
No differences in cow performance were found between GM and non-GM hybrids.
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