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Associations between herd-level feeding and housing management practices, ration characteristics and production of free-stall housed dairy cows

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Title: Associations between herd-level feeding and housing management practices, ration characteristics and production of free-stall housed dairy cows
Author: Sova, Amy
Department: Department of Animal and Poultry Science
Program: Animal and Poultry Science
Advisor: DeVries, Trevor
Abstract: A cross sectional study of 22 commercial free stall farms was conducted to investigate associations between feeding and housing practices, ration variability, and measures of productivity of group-housed dairy cows. Farms were visited for 7 consecutive days in both summer and winter to collect measures related to management, milk production, environment, and ration characteristics. Feeding 2x/d compared to 1x/d was associated with greater group-average milk yield, DMI and less sorting against long particles. Provision of increased feed bunk space was associated with increased milk fat% and lower group-average SCC. Higher daily variability in energy content and % long particles in the ration was associated with lower group-average milk yield and efficiency of milk production. Overall, these results suggest that herd-level feeding and housing practices which increase access to consistent feed can improve group-level productivity and ultimately improve herd profitability.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10214/6580
Date: 2013-04-25


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