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Dairy Cattle

Research Ruminants Dairy cattle

Herd and facility
For the research on dairy cattle Schothorst Feed Research has access to an experimental farm with 210 high yielding dairy cows (HF), housed in a modern free stall barn under practical circumstances. The herd has an average age of 5 years with an annual rolling herd average milk production of 10,000 kg with 4.25% fat and 3.50% protein. The free stall barn is equipped to measure individual intake of forage and concentrates of 120 animals. For this purpose a transponder-controlled Calan system with individual entrance gates and feeders is used. This makes it possible to conduct research on individual animal level in an accurate way. 

Types of research
Below the different possibilities for research with dairy cattle are described.

Feeding trials
Objective
Determine the effect of for example:

  • Forage quality 
  • Concentrate composition or - supply 
  • Additives

On among others:

  • Feed intake
  • Milk production and composition

Trial set up
Dependent on the expected effect size, 12 or more cows per treatment can be selected, with 2 to 8 treatments. Cows are allocated to blocks according to age, stage of lactation and production. Results will be corrected for differences preceding the measuring period. 

Standard observations 

  • Feed intake
  • Milk production and –composition
  • Body weight
  • Body condition score

We like to consult you on further possibilities
See factsheet for additional information 

Rumen physiological studies
Objective
Determine the effect of for example:

  • Forage quality 
  • Concentrate composition or - supply 
  • Additives

On rumen parameters

Trial set up
Because this type of research is conducted with rumen fistulated cows, the experiments are small scale and therefore designed as Latin Square where every animal is allocated to the test treatment(s) as well as to the control treatment. 

Observations

  • pH
  • volatile fatty acids
  • ammonia in rumen fluid
  • Continuous measurement of pH
  • Rumination activity

We like to consult you on further possibilities
See factsheet for additional information 

Nutritive value of feedstuffs
The research on the nutritive value of feedstuffs is one of the pillars of Schothorst Feed Research. We have various possibilities to determine the nutritive value of a feedstuff, from laboratory to cow.
Objective

  • Determine the nutritive value of concentrate ingredients, forages or wet by products. 
  • Determine Schothorst Feed Research feeding value characteristics: E-dairy® (see factsheet)

In vitro methods

  • Chemical composition
  • Rumen degradation through incubation of the feedstuff in rumen fluid, enzymes and buffer
    - Residue after incubation
    - Gas production in time 
  • Intestinal digestibility through incubation of the feedstuff in rumen fluid, pepsin-HCl and enzymes. 

In situ nylon bag incubation

  • Rumen degradation through nylon bag incubation of the feedstuff in rumen fistulated high yielding dairy cows
  • Intestinal digestibility through mobile nylon bag incubation in dairy cows with intestinal fistula.

In vivo digestibility trials

  • Apparent digestibility measured in an experiment with 24 to 48 high yielding dairy cows, with 2 to 8 test feeds. 

We like to consult you on all possibilities. 
See factsheet for more information on the determination of the nutritive value of feedstuffs

Palatability trial
A good acceptance of the concentrates is essential for high producing dairy cows who receive their concentrates via automatic feeders. Concentrate ingredients as well as additives can influence the palatability of the concentrate. 

Objective

  • Determine the influence of feed ingredient or additive on the intake of concentrates.

Trial set up
A Group of cows is fed a fixed amount of concentrates. The intake after a fixed time period related to the intake of the control feed is used as measure for palatability. The observations are repeated for some days.  

Observations

  • Intake of test feed in 3 minutes
  • Intake of test feed relative to control feed

Longevity
To examine the specific effects on longevity in terms of health and fertility, long term trials with large numbers of cows are required to show differences statistically significant. We can conduct such trials on some large dairy farms from practice. 

Objective
Evaluate the effect of a treatment on health and fertility parameters 

Trial set up

  • Three large farms from practice (>200 cows)
  • 2 treatments
  • Complete randomised block design
  • With or without pre periodo 4 -12 months
  • Common management for practice, different and changing rations
  • With supplemental additive through concentrate feeders 

Observations
Health and fertility parameters