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Analyses of factors affecting dry matter intake of lactating dairy cows

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An experiment was conducted to analyze feed, climate and animal factors affecting dry matter intake (DMI) in lactating dairy cows. Sixteen lactating Holstein cows, with parity from 1 to 6, were assigned to a feeding trial for 2 years, comprising 31 lactations. The animals were fed Italian ryegrass silage, oat hay, alfalfa hay, beet pulp and three types of concentrate. The data, pooled and classified by stage of lactation, season of lactation and parity were analyzed by stepwise multiple regression to determine the nature and extent of factors affecting DMI. A total of 45 prediction equations for DMI were derived. Energy-corrected milk yield or milk yield was selected as the primary factor of DMI in all the equations in which the ratio of contribution (R2) varied from 0.26 to 0.67. The dietary concentration of organic cell wall, crude fiber, crude protein, organic b fraction, forage to concentrate ratio, average ambient temperature and temperature–humidity index were selected as the secondary factors affecting DMI for pooled data, late lactation (251–350 days of lactation), summer (June–August), spring (March–May), ≥4th lactation, autumn (September–November) and 3rd lactation, respectively, and improved R2 up to 0.77. Except for an impact of bodyweight in several equations, feed and climatic factors significantly improved prediction equations effectively for data classified in different ways. To estimate DMI accurately in lactating dairy cows, feed and climatic factors should be considered for specific conditions.
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Keywords: ambient temperature; chemical composition of diet; dry matter intake; milk yield; multiple regression analysis

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Graduate School for International Development and Cooperation, Hiroshima University, Higashi-Hiroshima-shi, Japan

Publication date: February 1, 2006

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