DO OLDER AND HIGHER-MILKING COWS EAT MORE?
Oklahoma researchers compared forage intake of Brangus first-calf heifers (H) and cows (C) of high (HI) or low (LO) milk EPD during late gestation, early lactation, and late lactation. During all three periods, ration was low quality (around 5% CP) Coastal hay ad lib, supplemented with cottonseed meal to meet protein requirements. During late gestation, H ate less total than C, but about the same in relation to body weight. Milk EPD did not affect intake. During early lactation, H and C again consumed about the same relative to weight, but HI ate about 8% more hay than LO. Milk production was 39% higher for C than H and HI produced 18% more than LO. During late lactation, LO-H consumed somewhat less in relation to weight and had slightly lower digestibility than the other groups. HI and LO did not differ for milk produced in late lactation.