The aim of this study was to reduce voluntary dry matter intake (DMI) to increase feeding efficiency of preclassified inefficient (INE) dairy cows through restricted feeding. We studied the effects of dietary restriction on eating behavior, milk and energy-corrected milk (ECM) production, in vivo digestibility, energy balance, and measures of feed efficiency [residual feed intake (RFI) and ECM/DMI]. Before the experiment, 12 pairs of cows were classified as INE. The 2 dietary treatments consisted of ad libitum feeding versus restricted feeding of the same total mixed ration containing 36.5% roughage. Inefficient cows fed the restricted total mixed ration had a shorter eating time and lower meal and visit frequency, but a similar rate of eating, meal size, and meal duration compared with INE cows fed ad libitum. Compared with the INE cows fed ad libitum, restricted INE cows had 12.8% lower intake, their dry matter and neutral detergent fiber digestibility remained similar, and their ECM yield was 5.3% lower. Feed efficiency, measured as RFI, ECM/DMI, and net energy retained divided by digestible energy intake, was improved in the restricted INE cows as compared with the ad libitum cows. Our results show that moderate DMI restriction has the potential to improve feed efficiency of preclassified INE cows.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors express their appreciation to Yavne Feeding Center for the production of TMR and to the team at the ARO research dairy farm for their efforts. This study was supported by grant no. 362-0546 from the Israeli Dairy Board Foundation. The authors thank the Israeli Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development for financial support (project number 4594514).
© 2019 American Dairy Science Association
- feed efficiency
- feed restriction
- residual feed intake