Evaluation of concentrate factors affecting silage intake of dairy cows: a development of the relative total diet intake index

Huhtanen, P.; Rinne, M.; Nousiainen, J.

Animal An International Journal of Animal Bioscience 2(6): 942-953


ISSN/ISBN: 1751-7311
PMID: 22443674
DOI: 10.1017/s1751731108001924
Accession: 022597204

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The aim of this work was to develop an index describing the relative intake of the total diet by dairy cows, and hence the ability to predict intake responses to changes in both forage and concentrate variables. An evaluation of concentrate factors affecting silage dry matter (DM) intake of dairy cows was conducted based on dietary treatment means from milk production experiments. The data were divided into four subsets according to concentrate treatments used within the experiments: the amount of concentrate supplementation (n = 217), protein supplementation (n = 336), carbohydrate composition (n = 114) and fat concentration of the concentrate (n = 29). The data were subjected to mixed-model regression analysis. Increased concentrate DM intake (CDMI) decreased silage DM intake (SDMI) quadratically. The substitution rate (substitution of silage DM for concentrate DM) increased with improved silage intake potential. SDMI increased quadratically with concentrate protein intake, the response being negatively related to the effective protein degradability (EPD) of concentrates. Replacement of starchy concentrate ingredients with fibrous supplements had a small positive effect on silage intake, whereas increased concentrate fat concentration slightly decreased SDMI. The outcome of concentrate factors influencing total DM intake (TDMI) was used to create a relative CDMI index as follows: CDMI index = 100 + 10 × [(CDMI - 0.1629 × CDMI - 0.01882 × CDMI2 - 5.49) + ((0.9474 × CCPI - 0.4965 × CCPI2) - 2.017 × (CEPD - 0.74)) + 0.00225 × (CNDF - 250) - 0.0103 × (40 - Cfat) - 0.00058 × (CDMI - 8.0) × (SDMI index - 100)], where CDMI = concentrate DM intake (kg/day), CCPI = supplementary concentrate CP intake (kg/day; CP>170 g/kg DM), CEPD = concentrate EPD (g/g), CNDF = concentrate NDF concentration (g/kg DM), Cfat = concentrate fat concentration (g/kg DM) and SDMI index is the relative intake potential of silage (Huhtanen, Rinne and Nousiainen 2007. Animal 1, 758-770). TDMI index was calculated as SDMI index + CDMI index - 100 to describe the relative intake potential of the total diet. For the whole data set (n = 943), one TDMI index unit was equivalent to 0.095 kg/day DM intake, i.e. close to the default value of 0.100 kg. The CDMI index explained proportionally 0.88 of the variation in TDMI within a study with a 0.27 kg/day residual mean-square error (n = 616). The corresponding values for the TDMI index were 0.81 and 0.37 kg/day (n = 943), respectively. The residual mean-square errors in cross-validation were marginally higher. The developed TDMI index can be used to estimate the intake responses to diet changes. It provides an improved basis for practical dairy cow ration formulation and economic evaluation.