Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Optimisation of dairy cow nutrition

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
4.02.02  Biotechnical sciences  Animal production  Animal nutrition 

Code Science Field
B400  Biomedical sciences  Zootechny, animal husbandry, breeding 

Code Science Field
4.02  Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences  Animal and Dairy science 
dairy cow nutrition, ration calculation, net energy for lactation, metabolizable protein, carbohydra
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (8)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  05658  PhD Drago Babnik  Animal production  Head  2011 - 2013  369 
2.  12010  PhD Janez Jeretina  Animal production  Researcher  2011 - 2013  406 
3.  11889  PhD Andrej Lavrenčič  Animal production  Researcher  2011 - 2013  342 
4.  08596  MSc Blaž Šegula  Animal production  Researcher  2011 - 2013  221 
5.  27589  PhD Martin Škrlep  Animal production  Researcher  2011 - 2013  344 
6.  10035  PhD Jože Verbič  Animal production  Researcher  2011 - 2013  965 
7.  29649  PhD Jaka Žgajnar  Animal production  Researcher  2011 - 2013  229 
8.  22606  PhD Tomaž Žnidaršič  Animal production  Researcher  2011 - 2013  192 
Organisations (2)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0401  Agricultural institute of Slovenia  Ljubljana  5055431  19,939 
2.  0481  University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty  Ljubljana  1626914  65,737 
Analyses of milk production, milk composition including somatic cell count and fertility of dairy cows show that the management of dairy cow nutrition in many Slovene herds is inappropriate and is not economically relevant, that the use of nutrients is not rational and that there are many health problems. One of the important reasons for described situation is a lack of suitable computer program which will enable farmers to analyse and plan dairy cow rations. Within the scope of this project we are planning to develop a free access web application which will allow the analyses and planning of dairy cow rations individually, for groups of animals and/or as total mixed rations (TMR). This program will be incorporated inside the existing information system “Govedo” where Central cattle breeding database “Govedo” with archive of regular monthly milk recordings data and information system for laboratory management are already located. This will enable a connectivity of the web application with the existing databases on a farm level. Database “Krma” which will render possible the data transfer from laboratory databases will be created. Simultaneously, data of the nutritive value and feed composition from literature and data of the nutritive value of commercially available concentrates from feed mixing industry will be also entered into the database. Thus, the program will be able to archive feed analyses from laboratories and proposed diets on a farm level. A basis of a functionally working web application for optimisation of dairy cow rations will be renewed and harmonised systems of net energy for lactation and metabolisable protein. Within the framework of this project available literature will be surveyed and the requirements and systems for predicting dry matter intake, physically effective fibre, carbohydrate and macro-mineral contents will be set. Calculated standard lactation curves will help us to estimate the amounts of required nutrients according to the stage of lactation and cow production potential. The possibility to upgrade the acquired application to the one which will allow automatic optimisation of diet composition will be tested by using the method of mathematical programming. During the development of the web application the physiological efficacy and the efficacy of physically effective fibre of proposed diet will be emphasised. Our starting point is that application should be simple, user friendly and upgraded with all the required indexes and warnings about the physiological adequacy of the diet.
Significance for science
Although the project was not focused in the research work, some results are important also from the scientific aspect. Lactation curve standards for dairy cows which were set up enable to estimate milk yield at the beginning of lactation and represent an important contribution to the modelling of growing or lactation production curves on small number of measurements. Results will contribute to the new approach in the field of phenotypic milk yield prediction and lactation curve trajectory (shape) prediction during the lactation. Research and scientific conference contributions from the field of estimating feeding value of feed by NIR spectroscopy promote environmentally friendly analytics, improve estimation reliability and give information to the software and hardware developers in the field of NIR analytics. Used principles and procedures of NIR analyzer calibration can be used also for research and application in other fields of NIR analytics. Application for planning and calculating diets is primarily intended for farmers and advisers but can also be used for the needs of modelling and research work in the field of dairy cow farm economics.
Significance for the country
Key results of the project are: web application for planning diets together with database Feed and Feeding diets, updated systems for estimating feeding value of feed and updated dairy cow requirements. Main problems of the dairy cow farms in Slovenia are low fertility, short longevity, large variability in milk yield between and inside herds and unsuitable milk composition which indicates frequent metabolic disorders. This situation is the consequence of inappropriate nutrient supply of animals. Application for calculating diets which is the first of this kind in Slovenia can substantially improve these conditions. It is expected that the results of the project will have the following long-term effects: - Program will enable efficient advisory work in the field of dairy cow nutrition, planning of feed production, and use of feed mixtures and mineral-vitamin supplements. - Setting up updated standards regarding the supply of dairy cows with metabolizable protein, net energy for lactation, physical fibre, carbohydrates, macro-elements will contribute to more economical supply of feeding nutrients to dairy cows. - Balanced feeding diets for dairy cows will on a long term contribute to higher productivity of animals, less health problems, better fertility, higher quality of produced milk and smaller environmental pollution on the milk production unit. - Formed database Feed will in the course of time represent an important source of data to follow the progress in the field of feed production quality in Slovenia and to plan different steps in this field. - New equations for the calculation of net energy for lactation will contribute to the more uniform and more accurate estimation of feeding value of feed in Slovene laboratories. - Stored diets on the herd level will serve for different studies and for purposes of farmer and selection work. - Both databases will offer support to public services when planning steps for sustainable agriculture development. - On the farm level application will enable to compose feed mixtures which will contribute to the more economical use of bought and imported concentrates. On a long term application should stimulate and enable to put into force sustainable use of natural resources and contribute to the environmental protection and animal health, indirectly this will contribute to the product quality of animal origin and human health protection.
Most important scientific results Annual report 2011, 2012, final report, complete report on dLib.si
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2011, 2012, final report, complete report on dLib.si
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