Investigator: Kathy Soder, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Pasture Systems and Watershed Research Unit, University Park, PA
Project location: University of New Hampshire Organic Research Dairy, Burley-Demeritt farm, Lee, New Hampshire (certified organic since 2005)
Specific objectives include:
- Determine the effects of molasses supplementation on milk production, milk components, body weight and body condition of lactating dairy cows
- Evaluate the effects of molasses supplementation on ruminal fermentation, including products of ruminal fermentation and degradability of pasture
- Evaluate the profitability (income over feed costs) of molasses supplementation.
In the feeding trial, the organic lactating herd at UNH will be supplemented with either molasses (5% of total dry matter intake-DMI) or corn meal (15% of total DMI).
In the in situ (ruminal fermentation) study, four ruminally fistulated grazing cows will be fed one of four supplements: 1) molasses at 5% of total DMI; 2) molasses (5% of total DMI) plus corn meal (7% total DMI) 3) corm meal (15% total DMI); and 4) no supplement.
Ruminal pH, metabolites (ammonia and volatile fatty acids; VFA) and nutrient degradability will be evaluated. The results of this research will be used to develop feeding recommendations for molasses supplementation for organic dairy farmers, consultants and industry professionals.