The energy corrected milk yield is one of the measures of the feed efficiency. Defining feed efficiency in the layman’s language, it refers to the ability of a cow to convert its food intake into milk. As such, it determines, if, regardless of the amount of food taken, the cow has the ability to produce sufficient quantities of milk. Very high food efficiency means that the cow has a high rate of converting the food intake into milk while the vice versa is also true.
There are several ways that we may use to determine the feed efficiency. To begin with, we may use the actual intake of dry matter (DMI). As the name suggests, an individual will measure this by considering all that the cow has fed on and that which has remained As such, as a farmer, you will have to measure the weight of the silage that has been fed to the cow as well as the remnants and refusals.
Secondly, you may use the DM of ration component. In this, you have to consider the total mixed ration. TMR refers to the method of cow feeding where the nutrients, grains, forage, and additives among others are mixed in a single chamber at predetermined ratios. Nevertheless, the principle is still based on the dry matter of this single mix.
Finally, as we have used, is the energy converted milk. The method is very common because of its simplicity. Moreover, it is a simple way to standardize the feed efficiency if there are numerous analyses involved. The analysis may be that of different breeds of cows which may produce milk in different proportions. The method, however, may produce different values as compared to the other methods that use the uncorrected values of milk.
Nevertheless, there is a need to improve the feeding efficiency accuracy and this can be done by using a correction factor for the energy content. This, in turn, means that there is a correction of the dry mass feed of the cow in order to ensure that there is accuracy in determining the feed efficiency. Regardless, the accuracy of the method used can remove the uncertainty associated win measuring the ability of the cow to digest the feed or the TMR.
As such, using the ECM.it was found out that the following: cow number 2. Cow number 7, cow number 8, cow number 9 and cow number 19 had the highest negative difference between the actual milk yield and the estimated milk yield. This means that these cows produced less than expected. However, improving the actual milk yield (ECM), there was an increase in the total milk yield by 0.15% This, in turn, means that it is important to keep monitoring the cow’s production and to ensure that you monitor the feeding efficiency.
Among other factors that determine the milk yield, the nutrient content may be the most pivotal. Regardless of the amounts of foliage or food is taken by the cow, the ability to convert nutrients to milk may be the most fundamental to a dairy farmer. As such, it is important to monitor the nutrient intake of the cow. In particular, the NDF, starch, and calcium.
To begin with, the NDF is a measure of the fiber intake of an animal. It is the common method used in the analysis of the feed t. Nevertheless, it measures structural components of the plants that are used as animal feed. These components include cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin among others.
As with the dairy cows, an intake of NDF is usually dependent on the rumen size and fill as well as the ration or optimum forage requirements of the cow. Nevertheless, the optimum intake of this NDF will lead to the production of high quantities of milk. This point of optimum intake of NDF is usually a 1.25 mean with a standard deviation of 0.10 % of the animal’s weight. This is to be done on a daily basis. In a nutshell, the NDF intake of a cow should be about 125% of its relative body weight. However, the intake should consider the calving of the cow. The 1.25% NDF intake is usually suitable for cows that are in mid to late lactation periods.
The following table shows the optimum NDF intake depending on the lactation period.
However, it is important to ensure that the dairy cow receives the optimum NDF. An increase in the NDF intake may lead to a reduction in the milk productivity with the maximum amount prescribed as 1.47% of the cow’s total body weight. The lower intake will also mean no increased milk production. However, it is important to use additives that improve the rate of digestion of NDF.
Moreover, it is important to consider both the non-fiber carbohydrates as well as the starch intake of these cows. The optimum intake is usually dependent on several variables but it is important to ensure that the dairy cows get about 23 to 30% the dry matter as starch. Starch forms the largest proportion of non-fiber carbohydrates
Moreover, there is a need to ensure that starch is provided as a percentage of the total animal feed. This percentage is about 20% in the diets of dry cows and about 35% in the lactating cow’s diets. Nevertheless, it is important to consider that an increase in the starch intake and a reduction in the NDF results to an increase in the intake of dry matter. However, an increase in the starch intake is not good for the dairy cow since it increases the ruminal acidosis, As a matter of fact, an increase in the starch intake to greater than 45% of the diet will lead to a reduction in the amount of milk produced by the cow. On the other hand, a lower intake of these starch will mean that the energy requirements of the cow are not met. However, reduction of this intake to less than 25% will not have a significant effect on the lactation of the cow.
Last, but not least, is the fact that calcium plays a major role in milk yield. Calcium is used by the dairy cattle for both skeletal purposes as well as milk production. However, the ratio of calcium to phosphorous intake should be about 2:1. Nevertheless, dairy cows require about 6 to 9 % daily intake of calcium. Higher levels of calcium intake have no effect on the general milk production of the cow since the minerals are retained in the cow’s rumen. However, a reduction in the calcium intake will lead to milk fever. This usually occurs after two days of no calcium intake.
Nevertheless, it is important to ensure that there are other supplementary feeds for the cow. Ensuring that the cow has about 2.7 kg for every 220 pounds will be one of the supplementary measures. Hay has the effect of increasing the production to about 70% of the maximum milk yield which may be about 15 liters daily. Moreover, a combination of grain and meals which are rich in protein will improve milk production. Other grains such as barley, corn, and oats may also be included in the mix. Nevertheless. It is advisable to feed the cow this grain supplements twice a day.
As with the farm’s dairy cattle, there is a need to increase the calcium content. Calcium is an important ingredient in milk yielding and a low intake may result in milk fever. On the other hand, the NDF intake should be measured as a percentage of the total weight in order to ease the calculations. The optimum NDF is 125% of the cow’s body weight. Finally, the starch intake is within range considering that all cows receive starch greater than 20%. However, this amount should be improved to about 25 % for each cow/
Numerous studies have been conducted to determine the effects of dairy cattle concentration on the performance. The performance can be based on the following: dry matter intake fertility, milk yield and changes in the body among others. In essence, the concentration can be established in terms of dry matter per group or individual cows.
An increase in the concentration results to a reduction in the dry mass intake which may consequently result in a decrease in the yield of milk. Moreover, this difference in allocation of dairy cows results to the difference in the milk concentration. However, the difference in allocation may result in weight gain in grouped cows. Nevertheless, this is unlikely to affect the score of the cow’s body. Nevertheless, it is recommended that the farmer should be well aware of the level of concentration within the dairy herd. Cows whose lactation is within a small range can be fed using the flat rate strategy. It is especially useful where the levels of feed are very low such as 2kg/cow/day.
On the other hand, cows that are widely spaced in terms of the lactation period may be best catered for by the feed to yield methodology. All this is necessitated by the fact that the yields will be totally different between these groups. In essence, the supplements will be focused on the cows with the highest demands.
As such, the individual feeding presents a method which can optimize the consumption. Therefore, there may be a reduction in the costs involved in feeding the cows accompanied by an increase in the production. Moreover, it may offer a more flexible approach to feeding the cows. The downside is the increased expenses involved as well as the high requirements of labor.
Grant, R. J. & Albright, J. L., 2001. Effect of animal grouping on feeding behavior and intake of dairy cattle. Journal of dairy science.
Huhtanen, P., Rinne, M. & Nousiainen, J., 2007. Evaluation of the factors affecting silage intake of dairy cows: A revision of the relative silage dry matter intake index. Animal 1.
National Research Council, 2001. Nutrients requirements of Dairy cattle. s.l., s.n.