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Søren Østergaard

Feeding, production, and efficiency of Holstein-Friesian, Jersey, and mixed-breed lactating dairy cows in commercial Danish herds

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The objective of this paper was to compare efficiency measures, milk production, and feed intake for lactating cows in commercial herds using different breeds and production and milking systems. To accomplish this, we used all feed evaluations made by the Danish extension service during the period November 2012 to April 2013 for 779 herds, of which 508 were Holstein-Friesian (HOL); 100 were Jersey (JER); and 171 herds were a mixture of these 2 breeds, other dairy breeds, and crossbreeds (OTH). The annually recorded, herd-average energy-corrected milk (ECM) yield was 8,716kg (JER) and 9,606kg (HOL); and average herd size was 197 cows (HOL) and 224 cows (JER). All cows were fed a total mixed or partial mixed ration supplemented with concentrate from feeding stations, housed in loose housing systems with a slatted floor, and milked in either a parlor milking unit or an automatic milking system. Energy efficiency was calculated as net energy efficiency defined as total energy demand as a percentage of energy intake and as residual feed intake defined as energy intake (net energy for lactation; NEL) minus energy requirement. Production efficiency was expressed as kilograms of ECM per kilogram of dry matter intake (DMI), kilograms of ECM per 10 MJ of net energy intake (NEL), kilograms of ECM per 100kg of BW, and kilograms of DMI per 100kg of BW. Environmental efficiency was expressed by the nitrogen efficiency calculated as N in milk and meat as a percentage of N in intake, and as enteric emission of methane expressed as kilograms of ECM per megajoule of CH4. Mean milk yield for lactating cows was 30.4kg of ECM in HOL and 3kg less in JER, with OTH herds in between. Mean NEL intake was 122 MJ in JER, increasing to 147 MJ in HOL, whereas ration energy density between breeds did not differ (6.4-6.5 MJ of NEL per kg of DMI). The NEL intake and DMI explained 56 and 47%, respectively, of variation in production (ECM) for HOL herds but only 44 and 27% for JER. Jersey had a higher efficiency than HOL and OTH, except in nitrogen efficiency, where no significant difference between breeds existed. Most of the efficiency measures were internally significantly correlated and in general highly positively correlated with milk production, whereas the correlation to DMI was less positive and for JER negative for net energy efficiency, kilograms of ECM per kilogram of DMI, and nitrogen efficiency. Only little of the variation in efficiency between herds could be explained by differences in nutrient or roughage content of DMI. This could be explained by the fact that data were collected from herds purchasing feed planning and evaluation from the extension service.

TidsskriftJournal of Dairy Science
Sider (fra-til)263-274
Antal sider12
StatusUdgivet - jan. 2015

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