Prediction of voluntary feed intake

Part of the EAAP – European Federation of Animal Science book series (EAAP, volume 30)


Describing the nutrient variables in a diet and their interactions is an important part of ration formulation as productivity of the dairy cow is sensitive to the profile the nutrients absorbed. However, the prediction of feed intake is probably the most important determinant of production. Feed intake is primarily influencedby animal and feed characteristics. The most important animal characteristics are BW and physiological state, including stage of lactation, milk production, stage of gestation, live weight gain and body condition score. Feed characteristics such as digestibility and fibrecontent have both a strong influenceon rumen filland, hence, feed intake (Kristensen, 1983). However, several studies (Rinne et al., 2002; Garmo et al., 2007) have shown that cows may stop eating before the fillcapacity of the rumen is reached. This has been attributed to metabolic regulation (MR), which is also an important factor to consider when predicting feed intake. Physical intake regulation is related to the ruminal NDF pool (Bosch et al., 1992; Rinne et al., 2002) and is partly an indirect effect of the energy concentration of the diet because DMI declines in a curvilinear manner with increasing energy density of the diet (Mertens, 1994).


Feed Intake Intake Capacity Average Daily Gain Body Condition Score Live Weight Gain 
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© Wageningen Academic Publishers 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.TINE and the Norwegian University of Life SciencesAkershusNorway

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