Find the forage-efficient cows and increase profitability

Last changed: 29 April 2021
Cow eating silage from a feeding table. Photo.

Is it possible to identify dairy cows with high forage intake capacity?

Cows with higher breeding value for forage intake capacity are more profitable in terms of milk-income minus feed cost than those with lower such forage intake capacity value. The hypothesis will be tested both in experimental research and demonstrated in commercial herds. Dairy cows consume large amounts of concentrate and it makes a significant part of the total costs of milk production. Thus the concept of "large amounts of forage, instead of concentrate, to forage-efficient cows" would be profitable for the dairy industry provided that the cows consume enough forage to maintain a high milk production. The cows' ability to consume forage varies considerably. New advances in genomics offer possibilities both to identify individuals in the herd with high forage intake capacity. Milk infrared spectroscopy will be evaluated and used to develop predictive equations for forage intake and other traits influencing productivity.

Project manager:

Kjell Holtenius, Institutionen för husdjurens utfodring och vård, SLU, Uppsala.

Project group:

Cecilia Kronqvist, Institutionen för husdjurens utfodring och vård, SLU, Uppsala, Erling Strandberg, Institutionen för husdjursgenetik, SLU, Uppsala, Maria Åkerlind Växa Sverige, Örjan Bergman Ekenäs gård