Development of a model to predict forage intake by grazing cattle.

J. C. Hyer, J. W. Oltjen, M. L. Galyean

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

A mathematical model to predict daily DMI and account for effects of energy supplementation on forage intake has been developed in several stages. A previously evaluated dynamic rumen model for sheep was adopted as the fermentation component of the intake model. Intake was adjusted to reach a given level of DM fill, which is the sum of the concentrations of each of the dietary fractions within the rumen. Differential equations described the rate of change of each nutrient fraction. Genetic size scaling rules based on mature body size relationships were used to adjust rate and fill parameters of the intake model from sheep to beef cattle. Nutrient fractions were partitioned into those that flow at the particulate passage rate vs the fluid passage rate. Forty-two data points representing perennial ryegrass, wheat pasture and range grasses were used to parameterize and evaluate the model. The model was relatively sensitive to the coefficient relating DMI to particulate rate of passage, the rate constant for the use of the potentially degraded fiber fraction of the forage, and to the composition constants for the amount of carbohydrate and nitrogen in the microbial mass. Relative insensitivity was observed for starch and protein nutrient use rate constants, for the coefficient relating DMI to fluid passage rate, and for constants relating to the growth of the microbial mass in the rumen. Feed intake of grazing cattle may be predicted by mechanistic models describing various nutrients' contribution to ruminal fill.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)827-835
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of animal science
Volume69
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1991

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