Prediction and validation of residual feed intake and dry matter intake in Danish lactating dairy cows using mid-infrared spectroscopy of milk

Shetty, N.; Løvendahl, P.; Lund, M.S.; Buitenhuis, A.J.

Journal of Dairy Science 100(1): 253-264


ISSN/ISBN: 1525-3198
PMID: 27865487
DOI: 10.3168/jds.2016-11609
Accession: 058594801

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The present study explored the effectiveness of Fourier transform mid-infrared (FT-IR) spectral profiles as a predictor for dry matter intake (DMI) and residual feed intake (RFI). The partial least squares regression method was used to develop the prediction models. The models were validated using different external test sets, one randomly leaving out 20% of the records (validation A), the second randomly leaving out 20% of cows (validation B), and a third (for DMI prediction models) randomly leaving out one cow (validation C). The data included 1,044 records from 140 cows; 97 were Danish Holstein and 43 Danish Jersey. Results showed better accuracies for validation A compared with other validation methods. Milk yield (MY) contributed largely to DMI prediction; MY explained 59% of the variation and the validated model error root mean square error of prediction (RMSEP) was 2.24kg. The model was improved by adding live weight (LW) as an additional predictor trait, where the accuracy R2 increased from 0.59 to 0.72 and error RMSEP decreased from 2.24 to 1.83kg. When only the milk FT-IR spectral profile was used in DMI prediction, a lower prediction ability was obtained, with R2=0.30 and RMSEP=2.91kg. However, once the spectral information was added, along with MY and LW as predictors, model accuracy improved and R2 increased to 0.81 and RMSEP decreased to 1.49kg. Prediction accuracies of RFI changed throughout lactation. The RFI prediction model for the early-lactation stage was better compared with across lactation or mid- and late-lactation stages, with R2=0.46 and RMSEP=1.70. The most important spectral wavenumbers that contributed to DMI and RFI prediction models included fat, protein, and lactose peaks. Comparable prediction results were obtained when using infrared-predicted fat, protein, and lactose instead of full spectra, indicating that FT-IR spectral data do not add significant new information to improve DMI and RFI prediction models. Therefore, in practice, if full FT-IR spectral data are not stored, it is possible to achieve similar DMI or RFI prediction results based on standard milk control data. For DMI, the milk fat region was responsible for the major variation in milk spectra; for RFI, the major variation in milk spectra was within the milk protein region.