Commentary: Gaining from technology for improved dairy cow nutrition: Economic, environmental, and animal health benefits

D. R. Colman, D. E. Beever, R. W. Jolly, J. K. Drackley

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

Abstract

Most dairy farms have the potential to increase profitability by improving the ration fed to the herd and the precision with which it is delivered. An integrated technology focused on improved feed conversion efficiency, the Keenan Mechfiber system, is discussed as an opportunity to improve farm profitability, animal health and well-being, and environmental sustainability of dairy production. Margin gains averaging around $180 per cow annually have been achieved with French and United Kingdom herds within 1 yr of adopting the Keenan Mech-fiber system in each of the years from 2006 to 2009. Gains by herds in France were larger than those in the United Kingdom. The key performance indicator underlying these gains was feed conversion efficiency, whereby the same or a smaller amount of feed DMI generated greater yields of milk solids per cow. The gains were associated with large improvements in animal health and substantial decreases in greenhouse gases per unit of milk produced. The nutrition system generating these gains is applicable in all places where dairy cows are fed mixed rations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)505-517
Number of pages13
JournalProfessional Animal Scientist
Volume27
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2011

Keywords

  • Animal health
  • Cattle nutrition
  • Feed conversion efficiency
  • Greenhouse gas emissions
  • Production economics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology

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