This study was conducted using three multiparous non-lactating rumen-cannulated Holstein-Friesian dairy cows, with the objective of evaluating the in situ ruminal degradability and fermentation characteristics of novel mixtures of winter cereal and Italian ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum Lam.) plus winter cereal silages (mixture A: triticale, oats, barley and wheat; mixture B: triticale, barley and wheat; mixture C: Italian ryegrass and oats; mixture D: Italian ryegrass, oats, triticale, barley and wheat). The rumen fermentation study was conducted replacing the ensiled mixtures (experimental diets) with vetch-triticale haylage in a total mixed ration (control diet). It was found that the effective protein degradability at 0.08 rumen outflow rates was 80.6% (mixture A), 66.2% (mixture B), 79.7% (mixture C) and 79.3% (mixture D). The effective neutral detergent fibre (NDF) and acid detergent fibre (ADF) effective degradability at 0.08 rumen outflow rates was 18.0% and 17.7% (mixture A), 19.7% and 20.5% (mixture B), 19.1% and 17.0% (mixture C), and 15.2% and 14.6% (mixture D), respectively. Different dietary treatments did not change (P > 0.05) the rumen fermentation characteristics as there was no difference (P > 0.05) between control and experimental diets, and the inclusion of 40–55% Italian ryegrass (mixture C and D) did not cause any difference. These results suggest that the mixture of winter cereals and Italian ryegrass plus winter cereal-based silages had good potentially degradable dry matter, effective dry matter and effective protein degradability at 0.01, 0.05 and 0.08 rumen outflow rates without affecting the rumen environment maintaining neutral pH. The ensiled mixtures had a moderate level of potentially degradable NDF and ADF fractions.
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