Sirley Carrillo-Hernández, José Velarde-Guillén, Felipe López-González, Carlos Manuel Arriaga-Jordan


Background: In small-scale dairy systems (SPLPE), multi-species pastures and small grain cereal silages have proven to be an option in the face of potential climate change effects and provide quality forage at low costs in periods of forage shortages. Objective: To evaluate the inclusion of a binary silage of barley and rye, compared to a ternary silage of barley, rye and triticale, in the feeding of dairy cows in small-scale dairy systems, in terms of productive and economic performance. Methodology: In the central Highlands of Mexico and with the participation of a small-scale dairy farmer, the inclusion of these silages in the feed of 6 dairy cows was evaluated under a cross-over design. The treatments included 40% silage (T1, binary; T2, ternary), 36% of conventional feeds (cut pasture, maize straw and alfalfa hay) offered by the participating farmer, and 24% of commercial compound concentrate. The variables evaluated were diet composition, feed intake, yield and milk composition, and an economic analysis made considering feed costs. Results: The neutral detergent fiber content was 4.8% lower in T2 (p<0.05), a treatment that also presented a 3% higher digestibility and a higher metabolizable energy and crude protein content (p<0.05). This was due to the incorporation of the ternary silage, a higher quality silage compared to the binary silage. Energy corrected milk production was higher in T2 (p=0.05), in response to the higher intake and higher digestibility of this treatment. Feeding costs were similar for the inclusion of the two silages and the implementation of the ternary treatment represented an increase of 0.8% in margins over feed costs with compared to the use of the binary silage. Implications. The use of small grain cereal mixtures silages are feasible in small-scale dairy systems to ensure a constant supply of medium quality forage, which together with moderate supplementation can generate high yields and economic income. Conclusions: The inclusion of ternary silage of small grain cereals of barley, rye and triticale, and moderate supplementation with commercial concentrate (24%) and other conventional feeds (36%), is a viable alternative as a feeding strategy in small-scale dairy systems during the dry season maintaining high milk yields and a high profit margin for these systems.


Hordeum vulgare; Secale cereale; Triticosecale Wittmack; bovine milk production; small scale; forage mixture; silage.

Full Text:



AOAC (Association of Official Analytical Chemists)., 1990. Official methods of analysis (15th edn). Helrick K (ed.). Washington, DC: AOAC.

CSIRO., 2007. Nutrient Requirements of Domesticated Ruminants. In M. Freer, H. Dove and J.V. Nolan, eds, Canberra: CSIRO Publishing. pp. 1-67.

Agriculture and Food Research Council (AFRC)., 1993. Energy and protein requirements of ruminants. Wallingford: CAB International.

Abbas, Q., Han, J., Adeel, A. and Ullah, R., 2019. Dairy production under climatic risks: Perception, perceived impacts and adaptations in Punjab. Pakistan. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 16 (20), 4036. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16204036

Alfonso-Ávila, A.R, Wattiaux, M.A, Espinoza-Ortega, A., Sánchez-Vera, E. and Arriaga-Jordán, C.M., 2012. Local feeding strategies and milk composition in small-scale dairy production systems during the rainy season in the highlands of Mexico. Tropical Animal Health and Production, 44, pp. 637– 644. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11250-011-9947-5

Albarrán, B, García, A., Espinoza, A., Espinosa, E. and Arriaga, C.M., 2012. Maize silage in the dry season for grazing dairy cows in small-scale production systems in Mexico’s highlands. Indian Journal of Animal Research, 46, pp. 317– 324.

Anaya-Ortega, J.P., Garduño-Castro, G., Espinoza-Ortega, A., Rojo-Rubio, R. and Arriaga-Jordán, C.M., 2009. Silage from maize (Zea mays), annual ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum) or their mixture in the dry season feeding of grazing dairy cows in small-scale dairy production systems in the highlands of Mexico. Tropical Animal Health and Production, 41, pp. 607–616. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11250-008-9231-5

Ankom, 2005. Procedures (for NDF, ADF, and in vitro Digestibility). Ankom Technology Method. Available at: http://www.ankom.com. (Accessed 19 July 2020)

Bartl, K., Gamarra, J., Gómez, C. A., Wettstein, H.R., Kreuzer, M. and Hess, H. D., 2009. Agronomic performance and nutritive value of common and alternative grass and legume species in the Peruvian highlands. Grass and Forage Science, 64 (2), pp. 109–121. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2494.2008.00675.x

Benchaar, C., Hassanat, F., Gervais, R., Chouinard, P., Petit, H., and Massé, D., 2014. Methane production, digestion, ruminal fermentation, nitrogen balance, and milk production of cows fed corn silage or barley silage-based diets. Journal of Dairy Science, 97, pp. 961–974. https://doi.org/10.3168/jds.2013-7122

Bumbieris-Junior, V.H., Jean-Claude, E., Cabreira C, Marcelo R, Horst E. and Novak S., 2020. Performance and milk quality of cows fed triticale silage or intercropped with oats or legumes. Scientia Agricola 78 (2), pp. 1-24. https://doi.org/10.1590/1678-992X-2019-0124

Cai, Y., Du, Z., Jethro, D.B., Nignan, M. and Yamasaki, S., 2020. Analysis of main factors affecting silage fermentation of sorghum prepared with whole crop and stover in semiarid West Africa. African Journal of Range and Forage Science, 38 (2), pp. 169-178. https://doi.org/10.2989/10220119.2020.1794959

Carrillo-Hernández, S., Prospero-Bernal, F., López-González, F., Flores-Calvete, G., Martínez-García, C.G. and Arriaga-Jordán, C.M., 2021. Estimation of enteric methane emissions in small-scale bovine milk production systems under different feeding strategies. Tropical and Subtropical Agroecosystems, 24(2), 42. http://dx.doi.org/10.56369/tsaes.3306

Conroy, C. 2005. Participatory livestock research: a guide. London: ITDG Publishing.

Celis-Álvarez, M.D., López-González, F., Martínez-García, C.G., Estrada-Flores, J.G. and Arriaga-Jordán, C.M., 2016. Oat and ryegrass silage for small-scale dairy systems in the highlands of central Mexico. Tropical Animal Health and Production, 48, pp. 1129–1134. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11250-016-1063-0

Celis-Álvarez, M. D., López-González, F., Arriaga-Jordán, C. M., Robles-Jiménez, L. E. and González-Ronquillo, M., 2021. Feeding forage mixtures of ryegrass (Lolium spp.) with clover (Trifolium spp.) supplemented with local feed diets to reduce enteric methane emission efficiency in small-scale dairy systems: A simulated study. Animals, 11 (4), 946. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11040946

Espinoza-Ortega, A., Espinosa-Ayala, E., Bastida-López, J., Castañeda- Martínez, T. and Arriaga-Jordán, C. M., 2007. Small-scale dairy farming in the highlands of central Mexico: Technical, economic and social aspects and their impact on poverty. Experimental Agriculture, 43, pp. 241–256. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0014479706004613

Fadul-Pacheco, L., Wattiaux, M.A., Espinoza-Ortega, A., Sánchez-Vera, E. and Arriaga-Jordán, C.M., 2013. Evaluation of sustainability of small-scale dairy production systems in the highlands of Mexico during the rainy season. Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, 37 (8), pp. 882-901. https://doi.org/10.1080/21683565.2013.775990

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), 2022. Milk production. Available at: https://www.fao.org/dairy-production-products/production/en/. (Accessed 15 July 2022).

Grace, C., Boland, T.M., Sheridan, H., Lott, S., Brennan, E., Fritch, R. and Bridget-Lynch, M., 2018. The effect of increasing pasture species on herbage production, chemical composition and utilization under intensive sheep grazing. Grass and Forage Science, 73, pp. 852– 864. https://doi.org/10.1111/gfs.12379.

González-Alcántara, F. de J., Estrada-Flores, J.G., Morales-Almaraz, E., López-González, F., Gómez-Miranda, A., Vega-García, J.I. and Arriaga-Jordán, C.M., 2020. Whole-crop triticale silage for dairy cows grazing perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne) or tall fescue (Lolium arundinaceum) pastures in small-scale dairy systems during the dry season in the highlands of Mexico. Tropical Animal Health and Production, 52, pp. 1903–1910. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11250-020-02206-9

Gómez-Miranda, A., Estrada-Flores, J,G., Morales-Almaráz, E., López-González, F., Flores-Calvete, G. and Arriaga-Jordán, C.M., 2020. Barley or black oat silages in feeding strategies for small-scale dairy systems in the highlands of México. Canadian Journal of Animal Science, 100, pp. 221–227. https://doi.org/10.1139/cjas-2018-0237

Hanrahan, L., McHugh, N., Hennessy, T., Moran, B., Kearney, R., Wallace, M and Shalloo, L., 2018. Factors associated with profitability in pasture-based systems of milk production. Journal of Dairy Science, 101 (6), pp. 5474–5485. https://doi.org/10.3168/jds.2017-13223

Horst, E.H., Neumann, M., Mareze, J., Leão, G. F. M., Bumbieris-Junior, V. H. and Mendes, M. C., 2018. Nutritional composition of pre-dried silage of different winter cereals. Acta Scientarum - Animal Science, 40 (1), 42500. https://doi.org/10.4025/actascianimsci.v40i1.42500

Johansen, M., Lund, P. and Weisbjerg, M. R., 2017. Feed intake and milk production in dairy cows fed different grass and legume species: a meta-analysis. Animal, 12 (01), pp. 66–75. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1751731117001215

Kaps, M. and Lamberson, W.R., 2004. Change-over designs. In: M. Kaps and W.R. Lamberson, eds. Biostatistics for Animal Science. Trowbridge: Cromwell Press. pp. 294–312

Kendall, C., Leonardi, C., Hoffman, P. C. and Combs, D. K., 2009. Intake and milk production of cows fed diets that differed in dietary neutral detergent fiber and neutral detergent fiber digestibility. Journal of Dairy Science, 92 (1), pp. 313–323. https://doi.org/10.3168/jds.2008-1482

Kim, K.S., Anderson, J.D., Newell, M.A. and Butler, T.J., 2016. Variations of forage yield and nutritive value in winter rye germplasm. Crop Science, 56, pp. 1018-1024. https://doi.org/10.2135/cropsci2015.08.0487

Klimek-Kopyra, A., Bacior, M. and Zajac, T., 2017. Biodiversity as a creator of productivity and interspecific competitiveness of winter cereal species in mixed cropping. Ecological Modelling, 343, pp. 123–130. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2016.10.012

Mancipe-Muñoz, E.A., Vásquez-Vanegas, J.E., Castillo-Sierra, J., Ortiz-Cuadros, R.E., Avellaneda-Avellaneda, Y. y Vargas-Martínez, J de. J., 2021. Productividad y valor nutricional de forraje de cebada y trigo del trópico alto colombiano. Agronomía Mesoamericana, 32 (1), pp. 271-292. https://doi.org/10.15517/am.v32i1.40465

Martínez-García, C.G., Rayas-Amor, A. A, Anaya- Ortega, J.P., Martínez-Castañeda, F.E., Espinoza-Ortega, A., Prospero-Bernal, F. and Arriaga-Jordán, C.M., 2015. Performance of small-scale dairy farms in the highlands of central Mexico during the dry season under traditional feeding strategies. Tropical Animal Health and Production, 47, pp. 331–337. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11250-014-0724-0

Martínez-García, C.G., Rayas-Amor, A.A., Estrada-Flores, J.G., García-Martínez, A., López-González, F. and Carlos Manuel Arriaga-Jordán, 2020. Factors driving the adoption of maize silage and insights to improve extension activities towards small-scale dairy farmers in central Mexico. Tropical and Subtropical Agroecosystems, 23 (2),68. http://dx.doi.org/10.56369/tsaes.3306

Makkar, H.P.S., 2016. Smart livestock feeding strategies for harvesting triple gain – the desired outcomes in planet, people and profit dimensions: a developing country perspective. Animal Production Science, 56, pp. 519-534. https://doi.org/10.1071/AN15557.

Mertens, D.R. and Grant, R.J., 2020. Digestibility and Intake. In: K.J. Moore, M. Collins, C.J. Nelson, and D.D. Redfearn, eds. Forages: The Science of Grassland Agriculture Volume II, 7th Edn, Ames: John Wiley & Sons Ltd. pp 609-631. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781119436669.ch34

Miguel, M.F., Ribeiro-Filho, H.M.N., de Andrade, E.A., Moraes-Genro, M.T. and Delagarde, R,. 2014. Pasture intake and milk production of dairy cows grazing annual ryegrass with or without corn silage supplementation. Animal Production Science, 54, pp. 1810-1816. https://doi.org/10.1071/AN14382

Moore, J.K., Curtiss C.F., Lenssen, A.W. and Fales, S.L., 2020. Factors affecting forage quality. In: K.J. Moore, M. Collins, C.J. Nelson, and D.D. Redfearn, eds. Forages: The Science of Grassland Agriculture Volume II, 7th Edn. Ames: John Wiley & Sons Ltd. pp.701-716. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781119436669.ch39

Muciño-Álvarez, M., Albarrán-Portillo, B., López-González, F. and Arriaga-Jordán, C. M., 2021. Multi-species pastures for grazing dairy cows in small-scale dairy systems in the highlands of Mexico. Tropical Animal Health and Production, 53 (1), 113. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11250-021-02564-y

Muñoz, C., Hube, S., Morales, J.M., Yan, T. and Ungerfeld E. M., 2015. Effects of concentrate supplementation on enteric methane emissions and milk production of grazing dairy cows. Livestock Science, 175, pp. 37–46. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.livsci.2015.02.001

Niu, M., Kebreab, E., Hristov, A.N., Oh, J., Arndt, C., Bannink, A., Bayat, A.R., Brito, A.F., Boland,T., Casper, D., Crompton, L.A., Dijkstra, J., Eugene, M.A., Garnsworthy, P.C., Haque, M.N., Hellwing, A.L.F., Huhtanen, P., Kreuzer, M., Kuhla, B., Lund, P., Madsen, J., Martin, C., McClelland, S.C., McGee, M.,Moate, P.J., Muetzel, S., Munoz, C., O’Kiely, P., Peiren, N., Reynolds, C.K., Schwarm, A., Shingfield, K.J., Storlien, T.M., Weisbjerg, M.R., Yanez-Ruiz, D.R. and Yu, Z., 2018. Prediction of enteric methane production, yield, and intensity in dairy cattle using an intercontinental database. Global Change Biology, 24, pp. 3368–3389. https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.14094

Neumann, M., Dochwat, A., Horst, E.H., Venancio, B.J., Santos, J.C., Heker, J.C., Braga, F., Santos, L.C. and Silva, E.P., 2019. Productivity, profitability and nutritional quality of forage and silage of winter cereals. Semina: Ciências Agrárias, 40 (3), 1275. https://doi.org/10.5433/1679-0359.2019v40n3p1275

Ruiz-Torres, M.E., García-Martínez, A., Arriaga-Jordán, C.M., Dorward, P., Rayas-Amor, A.A. and Martínez-García, C.G., 2022. Role of small-scale dairy production systems in central Mexico in reducing rural poverty. Experimental Agriculture, 58 (40), pp. 1–13. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0014479722000369

Sainz-Ramírez, A., Velarde-Guillén, J., Estrada-Flores, J. G. and Arriaga-Jordán, C. M., 2021. Productive, economic, and environmental effects of sunflower (Helianthus annuus) silage for dairy cows in small-scale systems in central Mexico. Tropical Animal Health and Production, 53 (2), pp. 251. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11250-021-02708-0

Phelan, P., Moloney, A. P., McGeough, E. J., Humphreys, J., Bertilsson, J., O’Riordan, E. G. and O’Kiely, P., 2014. Forage legumes for grazing and conserving in ruminant production systems. Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences, 34 (1-3), pp. 281–326. https://doi.org/10.1080/07352689.2014.898455

Piltz, J.W., Rodham, C.A., Wilkins, J.F., Hackney, B.F. and Brown, G., 2021. Economic returns from cereal and cereal/vetch forage crops grown as fodder conservation options for beef and sheep meat production. Agriculture, 11(7), 664. https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11070664

Powell, M., Wattiaux, A. and Broderick, G. A., 2011. Short communication: evaluation of milk urea nitrogen as a management tool to reduce ammonia emissions from dairy farms. Journal of Dairy Science, 94, pp. 4690–4695. https://doi.org/10.3168/jds.2011-4476

Prospero-Bernal, F., Martínez-García, C. G., Olea-Pérez, R., López-González, F. and Arriaga-Jordán, C. M., 2017. Intensive grazing and maize silage to enhance the sustainability of small-scale dairy systems in the highlands of México. Tropical Animal Health and Production, 49, pp. 1537–1544. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11250-017-1360-2g

Simionatto, M., Maeda, E. M., Fluck, A. C., Silveira, A. P., Piran Filho, F. A., Paula, F. L. M. and de Macedo, V. de P., 2019. Nutritional and morphostructural characterization of pre-dried winter grass silage. Semina: Ciências Agrárias, 40 (5), pp. 2375-2386. https://doi.org/10.5433/1679-0359.2019v40n5Supl1p2375

Sobkowicz, P., Tendziagolska, E. and Lejman, A., 2016. Performance of multi-componnet mixtures of spring cereals. Part.1. Yields and yield components. Acta Scientiarum Polonorum, 15 (2), pp. 25–35.

Tilley, J.M.A. and Terry, R.A., 1963. A two-stage technique for the in vitro digestion of forage crops. Journal of the British Grassland Society, 18, pp. 104-111. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2494.1963.tb00335.x.

Van Soest, P.J., Robertson, J. B. and Lewis, B. A., 1991. Methods of dietary fiber, neutral detergent fiber, and nonstarch polysaccharides in relation to animal nutrition. Journal of Dairy Science, 74, pp. 3583–3597. https://doi.org/10.3168/jds.S0022-0302(91)78551-2

Vega-Garcia, J.I., López González, F., Morales Almaraz, E., and Arriaga-Jordán, C.M., 2021. Grazed rain-fed small-grain cereals as a forage option for small-scale dairy systems in central Mexico. Tropical Animal Health and Production, 53, 511. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11250-021-02958-y

Velarde-Guillén, J., López- González, F., Estrada-Flores, J.G., Rayas-Amor, A.A., Heredia-Nava, D., Vicente, F., Martínez- Fernández, A. and Arriaga-Jordán, C.M., 2017. Productive, economic and environmental effects of optimised feeding strategies in small-scale dairy farms in the Highlands of Mexico. Journal of Agriculture and Environment for International Development, 111 (1), pp. 225–243. https://doi.org/10.12895/jaeid.20171.606

Zadoks, J.C.T., Chang, T.T. and Konzak, C., 1974. A decimal code for the growth stages of cereals. Weed Research, 14, pp. 415–421. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-3180.1974.tb01084.x

URN: http://www.revista.ccba.uady.mx/urn:ISSN:1870-0462-tsaes.v26i3.48374

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.56369/tsaes.4837

Copyright (c) 2023 Sirley Carrillo-Hernández, José Velarde-Guillén, Carlos Manuel Arriaga-Jordan, Felipe López-González

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.