Comparison of energy expenditure, eating pattern and physical activity of grazing and zero-grazing dairy cows at different time points during lactation

Dohme-Meier, F.; Kaufmann, L.D.; Görs, S.; Junghans, P.; Metges, C.C.; van Dorland, H.A.; Bruckmaier, Rupert; Münger, A. (2014). Comparison of energy expenditure, eating pattern and physical activity of grazing and zero-grazing dairy cows at different time points during lactation. Livestock science, 162, pp. 86-96. Elsevier 10.1016/j.livsci.2014.01.006

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An experiment was conducted to determine the effect of grazing versus zero-grazing on energy expenditure (EE), feeding behaviour and physical activity in dairy cows at different stages of lactation. Fourteen Holstein cows were subjected to two treatments in a repeated crossover design with three experimental series (S1, S2, and S3) reflecting increased days in milk (DIM). At the beginning of each series, cows were on average at 38, 94 and 171 (standard deviation (SD) 10.8) DIM, respectively. Each series consisted of two periods containing a 7-d adaptation and a 7-d collection period each. Cows either grazed on pasture for 16–18.5 h per day or were kept in a freestall barn and had ad libitum access to herbage harvested from the same paddock. Herbage intake was estimated using the double alkane technique. On each day of the collection period, EE of one cow in the barn and of one cow on pasture was determined for 6 h by using the 13C bicarbonate dilution technique, with blood sample collection done either manually in the barn or using an automatic sampling system on pasture. Furthermore, during each collection period physical activity and feeding behaviour of cows were recorded over 3 d using pedometers and behaviour recorders. Milk yield decreased with increasing DIM (P<0.001) but was similar with both treatments. Herbage intake was lower (P<0.01) for grazing cows (16.8 kg dry matter (DM)/d) compared to zero-grazing cows (18.9 kg DM/d). The lowest (P<0.001) intake was observed in S1 and similar intakes were observed in S2 and S3. Within the 6-h measurement period, grazing cows expended 19% more (P<0.001) energy (319 versus 269 kJ/kg metabolic body size (BW0.75)) than zero-grazing cows and differences in EE did not change with increasing DIM. Grazing cows spent proportionally more (P<0.001) time walking and less time standing (P<0.001) and lying (P<0.05) than zero-grazing cows. The proportion of time spent eating was greater (P<0.001) and that of time spent ruminating was lower (P<0.05) for grazing cows compared to zero-grazing cows. In conclusion, lower feed intake along with the unchanged milk production indicates that grazing cows mobilized body reserves to cover additional energy requirements which were at least partly caused by more physical activity. However, changes in cows׳ behaviour between the considered time points during lactation were too small so that differences in EE remained similar between treatments with increasing DIM.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Research and Veterinary Public Health (DCR-VPH) > Veterinary Physiology
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Research and Veterinary Public Health (DCR-VPH)

UniBE Contributor:

Bruckmaier, Rupert

Subjects:

600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
600 Technology > 630 Agriculture

ISSN:

1871-1413

Publisher:

Elsevier

Language:

English

Submitter:

Lorenzo Enrique Hernandez Castellano

Date Deposited:

07 Apr 2015 14:21

Last Modified:

12 Oct 2015 15:44

Publisher DOI:

10.1016/j.livsci.2014.01.006

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.66034

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/66034

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