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Research article2015Peer reviewedOpen access

Variations in automatically recorded rumination time as explained by variations in intake of dietary fractions and milk production, and between-cow variation

Byskov, M.V.; Nadeau, Elisabet; Johansson, B.E.O.; Norgaard, P.


Individual recording of rumination time (RT) is now possible in commercial dairy herds, through development of a microphone-based sensor, which is able to record RT by the sound of rumination activity. The objectives of this study were to examine the relationship between daily RT and intakes of different dietary fractions, the relationship between RT in minutes per kilogram of dry matter intake (DMI) and milk production, and to examine the variation in RT within and between mid-lactating dairy cows. Data from 3 production trials were used in which a total of 27 different diets were fed. The data contained 761, 290, and 203 daily recordings of RT, milk yield, milk components, DMI, and intake of dietary fractions recorded on 29, 26, and 24 Holstein and Swedish Red cows from trials 1, 2, and 3, respectively. The dietary fractions included forage neutral detergent fiber (NDF), concentrate NDF, crude protein, sugar, starch, and the remaining fraction represented by organic matter - (forage NDF + concentrate NDF + crude protein + sugar + starch). The relationship between the dietary fractions and RT was analyzed in 2 steps. In step 1, the dietary fractions, which were significantly related to RT, were selected and simultaneously checked for multicollinearity between the dietary components; in step 2, a multivariate model, including the effect of repeated measurements, the main effect of the selected dietary fractions from step 1, random effects of cow(trial) and trial, and information on breed, days in milk, and parity was used to analyze the relationship between RT and the selected dietary fractions. Relationships between RT in minutes per kilogram of DMI and milk yield and milk components were analyzed, using the same multivariate model as in step 2. Approximately 32% of the variation in daily RT could be explained by variations in intakes of the dietary fractions, whereas 48% of the total variation in RT was accounted for by individual variations between cows. Intakes of forage NDF and starch were positively related to daily RT, whereas intakes of sugar and the remaining fraction were negatively related to daily RT. Rumination time in minutes per kilogram of DMI was negatively related to milk yield and protein percentage, but positively related to milk fat percentage.


dietary fraction; milk yield; rumination time

Published in

Journal of Dairy Science
2015, Volume: 98, number: 6, pages: 3926-3937

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Animal and Dairy Science

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