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Optimizing Production by Managing
How Dairy Cows Eat
Trevor DeVries
tdevries@uoguelph.ca
Dairy cattle nutritional management
 Dietary formulation
 Ration preparation
 Feed bunk management
Dairy cattle nutritional management
 Dietary formulation
 Ration preparation
 Feed bunk management
◦ Ensure feed is con...
Nielsen . B. L. 1999. Appl. Anim. Beh. Sci. 63:79-91
DMI relies on eating behavior…
0.0
10.0
20.0
30.0
40.0
0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350
DMI(kg/d)
Feeding time (min/d)
More time and meals at the bunk =
grea...
0.00
0.50
1.00
1.50
2.00
2.50
3.00
3.50
4.00
4.50
5.00
0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14
Milkfatcontent(%)
Meal frequency (#/d)
Data from...
Data from Johnston and DeVries. 2015. J. Dairy Sci. E-Suppl. 2 98:450-451.
More meals = greater milk yield
Not only important
how she eats to
achieve her
DMI…but the
composition of the
dry matter
consumed!
More sorting at a cow level = lower
milk components
Miller-Cushon and DeVries. 2017. J. Dairy Sci. in press
More sorting at a herd level….
 Every 2% refusal of long particles =
◦ -0.9 kg/d 4% fat corrected milk
◦ 2% decrease in p...
What does this mean from a feeding
management standpoint?
What does this mean from a feeding
management standpoint?
 Ensure dairy cows…
◦ Are stimulated to access feed
throughout ...
How do we stimulate cows to access
their feed throughout the day?
How do we stimulate cows to access
their feed throughout the day?
 Deliver feed more often…
◦ More time at the bunk
◦ Less feed sorting
DeVries et al, 2005; J. Dairy Sci. 88: 3553-3562
Ho...
More frequent feed delivery = improved
milk fat %
Rottman et al. 2014. Physiological Reports. 2:1-12.
Feeding 3x/d improved intake…but did not benefit
feeding patterns!
0.0
1.0
2.0
3.0
4.0
12:00 15:00 18:00 21:00 0:00 3:00 6...
0.0
0.5
1.0
1.5
2.0
2.5
3.0
3.5
4.0
14:00 16:00 18:00 20:00 22:00 0:00 2:00 4:00 6:00 8:00 10:00 12:00
DMI(kg/h)
Time (h)
...
Innovative ways to stimulate feeding more
often throughout the day are available…
Automation also minimizes human
inconsistency in feeding management…
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0
DMI...
Need to ensure feed is present when
cows go to the bunk!
Need to ensure feed is present when
cows go to the bunk!
Ensuring feed is available allows cows to use
their time efficiently!
 41 robotic milked herds
◦ Frequency of feed push u...
Again…automated systems are making
continuous feed availability
easier!
We want to minimize the amount of
time cows are without feed…
Cows should be able to access feed
when they want to…
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
14
16
18
20
-14 -12 -10 -8 -6 -4 -2 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18
Non-competitive (1:1)
Competitive (2:1)
Day r...
Overcrowding the bunk may impact
things other than DMI…
 Greater bunk space (per cow):
◦ +0.06% milk fat per 10cm (4 inch...
 Management of the feed bunk is as
important as ration nutritional composition
in ensuring cow health, efficiency, and
pr...
 Allow cows to eat when they want and
what they need!
◦ Keep feed in front of cows
◦ Stimulate cows to feed
◦ Allow cows ...
Questions???
Thank you to NSERC, Dairy Farmers of Canada,Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the
Canadian Dairy Commission, ...
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Optimizing Production by Managing How Dairy Cows Eat

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Dr. Trevor DeVries presented this for an educational DAIReXNET video. Find the full video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MncxEMC9skY

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Optimizing Production by Managing How Dairy Cows Eat

  1. 1. Optimizing Production by Managing How Dairy Cows Eat Trevor DeVries tdevries@uoguelph.ca
  2. 2. Dairy cattle nutritional management  Dietary formulation  Ration preparation  Feed bunk management
  3. 3. Dairy cattle nutritional management  Dietary formulation  Ration preparation  Feed bunk management ◦ Ensure feed is consumed…  In the amount required  In a healthy manner  As formulated
  4. 4. Nielsen . B. L. 1999. Appl. Anim. Beh. Sci. 63:79-91 DMI relies on eating behavior…
  5. 5. 0.0 10.0 20.0 30.0 40.0 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 DMI(kg/d) Feeding time (min/d) More time and meals at the bunk = greater DMI  DMI was associated with: ◦ feeding time (+0.02 kg/min) and meal frequency (+0.2 kg/meal) Data from Johnston and DeVries. 2015. J. Dairy Sci. E-Suppl. 2 98:450-451.
  6. 6. 0.00 0.50 1.00 1.50 2.00 2.50 3.00 3.50 4.00 4.50 5.00 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 Milkfatcontent(%) Meal frequency (#/d) Data from DeVries and Chevaux. 2014. J. Dairy Sci. 97:6499-6510 More meals = greater milk fat %
  7. 7. Data from Johnston and DeVries. 2015. J. Dairy Sci. E-Suppl. 2 98:450-451. More meals = greater milk yield
  8. 8. Not only important how she eats to achieve her DMI…but the composition of the dry matter consumed!
  9. 9. More sorting at a cow level = lower milk components Miller-Cushon and DeVries. 2017. J. Dairy Sci. in press
  10. 10. More sorting at a herd level….  Every 2% refusal of long particles = ◦ -0.9 kg/d 4% fat corrected milk ◦ 2% decrease in production efficiency Sova et al. 2013. J. Dairy Sci. 96:4759-4770
  11. 11. What does this mean from a feeding management standpoint?
  12. 12. What does this mean from a feeding management standpoint?  Ensure dairy cows… ◦ Are stimulated to access feed throughout the day ◦ Have access to the ration formulated for them throughout the day
  13. 13. How do we stimulate cows to access their feed throughout the day?
  14. 14. How do we stimulate cows to access their feed throughout the day?
  15. 15.  Deliver feed more often… ◦ More time at the bunk ◦ Less feed sorting DeVries et al, 2005; J. Dairy Sci. 88: 3553-3562 How do we stimulate cows to access their feed throughout the day?
  16. 16. More frequent feed delivery = improved milk fat % Rottman et al. 2014. Physiological Reports. 2:1-12.
  17. 17. Feeding 3x/d improved intake…but did not benefit feeding patterns! 0.0 1.0 2.0 3.0 4.0 12:00 15:00 18:00 21:00 0:00 3:00 6:00 9:00 DMI(kg) Time (h) 1x feeding 2x feeding 3x feeding 1x, 2x & 3x feeding 2x & 3x feeding Hart et al. 2014. J. Dairy Sci. 97:1713-1724.
  18. 18. 0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5 4.0 14:00 16:00 18:00 20:00 22:00 0:00 2:00 4:00 6:00 8:00 10:00 12:00 DMI(kg/h) Time (h) Feeding at milking Feeding between milkings = milking King et al. 2016. J. Dairy Sci. 99:1471–1482 Providing more stimulation to feed across the day by staggering milk and feeding = improved efficiency by 7%
  19. 19. Innovative ways to stimulate feeding more often throughout the day are available…
  20. 20. Automation also minimizes human inconsistency in feeding management… 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 DMI(kg/d) CV NEL across 7 d Adapted from Sova et al. 2014. J. Dairy Sci. 97:562-571 Every 0.5 point increase = -1.0 kg/d DMI
  21. 21. Need to ensure feed is present when cows go to the bunk!
  22. 22. Need to ensure feed is present when cows go to the bunk!
  23. 23. Ensuring feed is available allows cows to use their time efficiently!  41 robotic milked herds ◦ Frequency of feed push ups (average = 8x/d; range= 2 to 24)  + 0.1 h/d lying duration per extra 2 push-ups per day King et al. 2016. J. Dairy Sci. 99:9069-9079
  24. 24. Again…automated systems are making continuous feed availability easier!
  25. 25. We want to minimize the amount of time cows are without feed…
  26. 26. Cows should be able to access feed when they want to…
  27. 27. 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 -14 -12 -10 -8 -6 -4 -2 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 Non-competitive (1:1) Competitive (2:1) Day relative to calving DMI(Kg/d) Proudfoot et al. 2009. J. Dairy Sci. 92:3116-3123 Competition reduces DMI during transition, particularly before calving
  28. 28. Overcrowding the bunk may impact things other than DMI…  Greater bunk space (per cow): ◦ +0.06% milk fat per 10cm (4 inch) increase ◦ -13% SCC per 10cm (4 inch) increase Sova et al. 2013. J. Dairy Sci. 96:4759-4770
  29. 29.  Management of the feed bunk is as important as ration nutritional composition in ensuring cow health, efficiency, and productivity Take home messages:
  30. 30.  Allow cows to eat when they want and what they need! ◦ Keep feed in front of cows ◦ Stimulate cows to feed ◦ Allow cows access to their feed Take home messages:
  31. 31. Questions??? Thank you to NSERC, Dairy Farmers of Canada,Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the Canadian Dairy Commission, Dairy Farmers of Ontario, Lallemand Animal Nutrition,Westgen, the Investment Agriculture Foundation of British Columbia, the Canadian Bovine Mastitis Research Network, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs, the University of Guelph, and the UBC Animal Welfare Program for their financial support. Trevor DeVries tdevries@uoguelph.ca

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