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I'd like to see the use of current technology on farms that measure the feeding time to determine the Feeding Time Efficiency

Canada 20.11.2023
Source: The DairyNews
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A large study of 9142 dairy cows looked at a technology to measure their feed intake and body weight using overhead cameras, and has just been published in the Journal of Dairy Science.
I'd like to see the use of current technology on farms that measure the feeding time to determine the Feeding Time Efficiency
Daniel Scothorn
A large study of 9142 dairy cows looked at a technology to measure their feed intake and body weight using overhead cameras, and has just been published in the Journal of Dairy Science.

Proclamations of 'net zero' and 'carbon neutral' are all over Ag related media. Fair enough, it is important to recognize technologies that legitimately reduce emissions to produce a litre of milk (FOB farm bulk tank). Feedefficiency stands among the most referenced metric, when our industry talks about sustainability.

Viking Genetics, Denmark, has created a really cool technology to look at the feed intake of dairy cows by tracking feed surface area at the beginning and end of a meal, by identifying the cow (using an Xbox), thereby opening up a wide variety of calculations such as Feed Efficiency Ratio on individual cows and also body weight changes.

I've been following this tech for a few years, as Viking is using this technology in marketing of their genetics. The study revealed repeatability estimates for daily feed intake as a weekly average was 0.62, 0.65 and 0.63 for Jersey, Red Dairy cattle and Holstein respectively. Another study compared the overhead cameras to a camera/scale combination that measured intake of 1 cow at a time, indicating a strong correspondence.

Going forward, the use of overhead cameras for feed intake can be a tool for comparing FER among cattle in a herd, thereby allowing selection to focus heavier on efficiency as a phenotypic trait. 

What I'd like to see more in the future is the use of current technology on farms that measure the feeding time (minutes per day) to determine the Feeding Time Efficiency, which would be a simple division of Feeding time by milk solids yield. This would allow us to select cows that optimize the use of the feed bunk surface area, which may be a scarcity in dairy herds, especially barns that are designed with 3 rows of stalls on one feed alley.
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