New research in the Journal of Dairy Science® shows a slower eating rate is correlated with feed efficiency
Due to the lack of feeding behavior genetic studies in lactating dairy cattle and the potential for using these traits as indicators of feed efficiency, the objective of this study was to investigate different feeding behavior traits and their genetic associations with feed efficiency traits in lactating US Holstein cows. Researchers estimated genetic parameters for feeding behavior traits using daily records.
“Interestingly, some feeding behavior traits were strongly genetically correlated with feed efficiency,” said lead researcher Ligia Cavani, PhD, Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences, University of Wisconsin. The research team found that feeding rate showed a strong positive genetic correlation with dry matter intake, metabolic body weight, and residual feed intake in particular.
“Overall, our results suggest that measures of feeding behavior could be useful indicators of dairy cow feed efficiency and that individual cows that eat at a slower rate may be more feed efficient,” said Cavani.
Editor’s Note: The article is “Estimates of genetic parameters for feeding behavior traits and their associations with feed efficiency in Holstein cows,” by Ligia Cavani, William E. Brown, Kristen L. Parker Gaddis, Robert J. Tempelman, Michael J. VandeHaar, Heather M. White, Francisco Peñagaricano, and Kent A. Weigel (https://doi.org/10.3168/jds.2022-22066). It appears in the Journal of Dairy Science, volume 105, issue 9 (September 2022), published by FASS Inc. and Elsevier.
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