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News 1982 views last update:14 Jan 2016

Cow diets tailored to individual yield potentials

Danish scientists are developing strategies for tailoring the allocation of concentrates to the individual cow, which may increase the cow's milk yield and significantly improve her feed efficiency.

Cows are not identical objects produced on an assembly line. They have different yields, appetites and needs. Therefore they must also be fed individually. By developing and implementing new strategies for optimising the individual allocation of concentrates, scientists expect that milk yield for the individual cow can be increased by up to 300 kg per year and the feed efficiency improved by 75 feed units (FU) per year (1 FU = 1 kg barley with 14% water).

This is something that the farmer will be able to feel on his pocket. The cow will also benefit from it, since the optimised feeding reduces the risk of feed-related diseases, and the environment will benefit, since when milk is produced more efficiently there will be a lower impact on the climate and the environment per kilo milk produced per year.

This all forms part of a four-year research project at Aarhus University supported by 6.3 million Danish kroner from the Milk Levy Foundation.

- The results from this strategy of developing individual feed allocations can be used directly in herds with automatic milking systems (AMS). This corresponds to 25% of Denmark's milk production. The results can also be used in a significant percentage of the remaining herds that use automatic feeders for feed supplements, explains the project leader, senior researcher Martin Weisbjerg from the Department of Animal Science.
Source: Aarhus University

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