An experiment employing a Latin square design was used to quantify the effects of two stages of maturity of grass silage (early cut and late cut) and three concentrations of flaked corn starch (0, 2, and 4 kg) on the molar proportion of rumen volatile fatty acids (VFA), the production of rumen VFA, and the net fluxes of VFA in the splanchnic tissue of cows. The molar proportions of VFA in rumen fluid were similar for cows fed both silages. When the silage diets were supplemented with starch, the proportion of propionic acid increased for cows fed diets containing early cut grass silage, but no effects were found for cows fed diets containing late cut grass silage. Estimated gastrointestinal production of acetate, propionate, butyrate, and branched-chain fatty acids plus valerate was related to intake of metabolizable energy and organic matter fermented into VFA. The portal release of acetate was approximately 14% lower than the estimated production of acetate by cows fed diets containing early cut grass silage, but cows fed diets containing late cut grass silage showed a variable difference between estimated production and portal release (31, 24, and 15%, respectively) as starch supplementation increased. The portal release of butyrate plus beta-hydroxybutyrate and the release of branched-chain fatty acids plus valerate were approximately 70 and 25%, respectively, of the estimated gastrointestinal production. Propionate production was similar to the portal release of propionate. Net flux measurements in splanchnic tissue in combination with gastrointestinal digestion and kinetics provide information that increases the knowledge of pathways and metabolism and quantifies the availability of individual nutrients for milk production in dairy cows.
de Visser, H., Klop, A., van der Meulen, J., & van Vuuren, A. M. (1998). Influence of maturity of grass silage and flaked corn starch on the production and metabolism of volatile fatty acids in dairy cows. Journal of Dairy Science, 81(4), 1028-1035. https://doi.org/10.3168/jds.S0022-0302(98)75665-6