Relations between temperature changes in the rumen and roughage intake of dairy cows

Laue H J.; Petersen, U.

Zuechtungskunde 63(4): 282-293


Accession: 002206010

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In October/November 1990 we investigated to what extent a specific allocation of concentrates can induce temperature changes in the rumen and how to record these by means of infra-red-thermographics. This investigation was carried out with 23 cows of the Red and White breed (performance level in the herd: 5900 kg milk, 4.1% fat, 3.4% protein). Furthermore, relations between temperature changes and especially the roughage intake of cows were to be investigated. The results are to be summarized as follows: 1. Two to four kg of concentrates fed early in the morning resulted in a clear increase in temperature in the rumen. This temperature change can be recorded on the left side of the cow's body by means of an infra-red camera. 2. The differences in temperature between the four infra-red-measurements show significant simple correlations concerning the roughage intake in the range from r = 0.20 to r = 0.55. 3. The differences of the rumen temperature contain different information. These measurements taken as a whole result in an improvement of the determination coefficient for roughage intake in the range from r2 = 0.10 to 0.53. 4. The best predicted value of the infra-red measurements for the roughage intake was determined when the cows consumed four kg of concentrates, had a short coat, and the temperature in the cowhouse was low. Under these conditions 53% of the variance in the roughage intake could be explained by the infra-red measurements. A high heat production in the rumen, optimum heat emission and particularly a thermoregulation in cows, which has a negative influence on the measurements with higher temperature in the cowhouse, are discussed as possible causes for this comparatively better result. 5. Given favourable conditions 87% of the variance concerning roughage intake could be explained by the differences in the rumen temperature (RuTD), DM-concentrate intake and height at withers.