Our research on ruminants

Last changed: 02 May 2022

Research and teaching in ruminant nutrition and management at our department includes nutrient metabolism, feeding, lactation, growth, behavior and housing issues. We focus on animal production and welfare and on quality of the products. The impact ruminant production has on the global environment has become an important part of our research. We have a large international network, within EU as well as worldwide.

Nutrition and feeding

We study feedstuffs and feeding strategies that support healthy and productive animals in sustainable production systems. We study effects of forage, grazing, whole crop silage and concentrate intake on nutrient metabolism and production of meat and milk. One part of this work is the possibilities to use alternative feedstuffs like energy by-products as feed for ruminants. The demand for sustainable animal production systems increases. We support the development of systems that are energy efficient and that minimize the losses of phosphorus and other important nutrients. We also study physiological regulation of feed intake, metabolism and milk production.

Management and behaviour

We work on a broad spectrum of issues regarding management routines, housing systems and animal behaviour. During the last decade a large part of our work has been on systems for automatic milking, including cow traffic, feeding strategies, grazing, milking and milk quality issues. We also study the possibility of letting the dairy calf stay with its mother in extensive and intensive dairy production systems.

Lactation and growth

We study several lactating species, mainly dairy cows but also sheep, goats, zebu cows and water buffalos. We study lactation physiology, milking routines, milking technique and its effect on production, milk quality and udder health in intensive and extensive systems. One important part of this work is the dynamics in lactation persistency in dairy cows and the interactions between calving interval, lactation persistency and dry period length. These studies involve lifetime productivity as well as mammary gland function and deposition and mobilization of nutrients in different stages of lactation. We also study how growth is affected by feeding, grazing and management and how animals on pasture contribute to the open landscape and biological diversity.