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Department of Animal Sciences
The Robert H. Smith Faculty
of Agricultural, Food & Environment

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

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Dietary restriction improved feed efficiency of inefficient lactating cows


Meir, Y. A. B. ; Nikbachat, M. ; Portnik, Y. ; Jacoby, S. ; Levit, H. ; Bikel, D. ; Adin, G. ; Moallem, U. ; Miron, J. ; Mabjeesh, S. ; et al. Dietary restriction improved feed efficiency of inefficient lactating cows. Journal of Dairy Science 2019, 102, 8898-8906.


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. © 2019 American Dairy Science Association