Start Date: May 15, 2009
End Date: Dec 31, 2012
Two trials will be conducted with lactating dairy cows. Trial 1 will be a 2-phase study to assess lysine bioavailability from a particular product in lactating cows by comparing the plasma lysine response curve obtained when feeding the product to that occurring with abomasal infusion of known amounts of lysine. In Phase 1, lactating dairy cows with permanent ruminal cannulae will be fed a standard diet that exceeds their requirement for absorbed lysine (by supplementing with high levels of soybean meal). Five doses (0, 20, 40, 60 and 80 g/d) of L-lysine-HCl will abomasally infused via rumen cannula to generate a linear plasma lysine response curve. Design of Phase 1 will be a 5 x 5 Latin square with 3-d periods. Blood plasma will be sampled over the last 24 h of each infusion period to account for any diurnal variation in blood lysine concentration; plasma lysine will be quantified by ion-exchange chromatography. During Phase 2, the same dairy cows fed the same standard diet will be supplemented with the same 5 different doses of L-lysine, but in the form of the experimental product. Phase 2 will also be a 5 x 5 Latin square design, but with 7-d periods. Blood samples will be collected and analyzed as described for Phase 1. Trial 2 will be a lactation study conducted using diets based on alfalfa and corn silages, high moisture and ground-shelled corn, and supplemented with soybean meal and distillers dried grains. The tentative plan is to feed a 2 x 2 x 2 arrangement of diets: 2 levels of crude protein (15.0 and 17%), with and without supplementation of rumen-protected methionine, and with and without the rumen-protected lysine product studied in Trial 1. This trial will an incomplete 8x8 Latin square with 4, 4-week periods (total 16 weeks). Sixty-four cows in early or mid-lactation will be blocked into 8 squares by parity and days-in-milk. Cows will be housed at the U.S. Dairy Forage Center research farm at Prairie du Sac. Within squares, cows will be randomly assigned to treatment sequences; cows in each square will get only 4 of the 8 diets but all 8 diets will be replicated an equal number of times over all 8 squares. Ration and weighback samples will be collected daily to determine the amount and composition of the ration actually consumed. Milk samples will be taken mid-week at both milkings during weeks 3 and 4 of each experimental period and analyzed for fat, protein, lactose, SNF and milk urea N. Cows will be weighed on three consecutive days at the start and at the end of each period. Blood samples and spot fecal and urine samples will be collected at the end of every 4-week period. Blood plasma will be deproteinized and analyzed for urea and free amino acids. Internal markers in urine (creatinine) and feces (indigestible ADF) will be used to estimate urinary excretion of urea N and total N, apparent nutrient digestibility, and fecal N excretion. Net N balance will be computed from N intake, milk protein yield and estimated urinary and fecal N excretion. Experimental data will be analyzed using the mixed procedures of SAS.