The Taste Test: Increasing Visits to Milking Systems

DENMARK - New research has underlined the importance of the composition of concentrates is important for the frequency of visits to the automatic milking system (AMS) and the milk yield.
calendar icon 23 May 2008
clock icon 2 minute read

Cows prefer wheat or a barley-oat mix to maize and barley. Photo: DJF

Just like humans, cows also have their favourite dishes. The formulation and structure of the feed concentrate offered is important for how often the cow frequents the automatic milking system (AMS), how much of the feed she eats, and how much milk she produces.

The formulation of the concentrate also has impact on its taste, according to results from a study carried out at the Danish Cattle Research Centre at Research Centre Foulum. The cows prefer wheat or a barley-oat mix to maize and barley, resulting in increased visit frequency to the AMS, reduced number of times the cows had to be fetched, and increased milk yield, according to senior scientists Martin Riis Weisbjerg and Torben Hvelplund, both from the Department of Animal Health, Welfare and Nutrition, University of Aarhus, and professor Jørgen Madsen, Department of Large Animal Science, University of Copenhagen.

On the other hand, feeding concentrate in the form of artificially dried grass was not a big hit with the cows, resulting in reduced visit frequency in the AMS, thus reducing milk yield.

The poor results obtained for the artificially dried grass in its pure form can have a natural explanation.

"The very negative result of artificially dried grass is probably only valid when it is fed alone and not when it is included in small amounts in a mix," the report says.

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