Effects of concentrate intake on subsequent roughage intake and eating behavior of cows in an automatic milking system

Morita, S.; Devir, S.; Ketelaar-De Lauwere, C.C.; Smits, A.C.; Hogeveen, H.; Metz, J.H.

Journal of Dairy Science 79(9): 1572-1580


ISSN/ISBN: 0022-0302
PMID: 8899523
DOI: 10.3168/jds.s0022-0302(96)76519-0
Accession: 002821147

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Twenty-three cows were kept in a free-stall barn with an automatic system for milking and feeding. The cows were offered mixed silage for ad libitum consumption. Concentrates were fed with the automatic milking system. This experiment examined the eating behavior of cows and the relationship between the intake of concentrate and the subsequent intake of roughage in a free-stall barn with an automatic milking system. An individual meal criterion was used to characterize the meal pattern of each cow. Daily roughage intake and the time spent on meals ranged from 25.6 to 40.2 kg/d and from 70.1 to 240.0 min/d, respectively. Meal duration and size did not differ, regardless of whether concentrate was eaten or not eaten during the premeal interval. Multiple regression analysis showed that the partial regression coefficient for the duration of the premeal interval was significant for each cow, and the regression coefficient for the intake of concentrate during the premeal interval was significant for 78% of the cows. Separation of the eating phases into concentrate and roughage showed that the cows made many repeated traffic cycles through the automatic milking system and feeding section of the barn, thus revealing a high demand for concentrate under the experimental conditions.