Lactation performance and feeding behavior of dairy cows supplemented via automatic feeders with soy hulls or barley based pellets

J. Miron, M. Nikbachat, A. Zenou, D. Ben-Ghedalia, R. Solomon, E. Shoshani, I. Halachmi, N. Livshin, A. Antler, E. Maltz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The potential of soy hulls to replace barley grain in pellets supplemented to lactating cows was measured in automatic concentrate feeders (ACF). Thirty-six cows were divided into 2 equal groups and fed 1 of the 2 experimental pellet supplements individually for 7 wk. All cows were group-fed a basic mixture along the feeding lane (∼64% of dietary DM) plus a pelleted additive containing 50% barley or soy hulls as barley replacer, fed individually to each cow via the ACF in 6 feeding windows. Extent and rate of in vitro DM digestibility were similar for both types of pellets; however, NDF content and digestibility were higher in the soy hulls pellets. Average number of rewarded cow visits at the ACF, pellets intake per meal, and accumulated intake of pellets (8.64 kg/d DM) were similar in the 2 experimental groups. Most pellets were consumed during day and night in the first 2 h after feeding windows were opened. Total visits per day in the ACF and the maximal interval between visits were similar for the 2 pellets, indicating similar attractiveness to the cow. Predicted intake of the basic mixture was similar in both groups (14.8 to 15.1 kg of DM/d). Higher milk fat content was observed in the soy hulls-fed cows, whereas higher milk protein content was found in the barley-fed cows. Milk yield was similar in both groups. Data suggest that replacement of barley pellets with soy hulls pellets may slightly enhance milk fat while reducing milk protein production for dairy herds using automatic milking systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3808-3815
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Automatic concentrate feeder
  • Barley pellets
  • Milk production
  • Pelleted soy hulls

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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