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Abbeddou S.,ETH Zurich | Rischkowsky B.,International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas | Hilali M.E.-D.,International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas | Haylani M.,International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas | And 2 more authors.
Tropical Animal Health and Production | Year: 2014

Two experiments were carried out in Syria with the purpose of investigating to which extent the effects of including 30 % olive cake (replacing parts of forage and concentrate) or tomato pomace (replacing concentrate) in the diet, described under controlled on-station conditions, can be recovered on farm. A total of 180 lactating Awassi ewes (three farms per experiment, 15 ewes per treatment) were fed either control diets or test feed diets over a period of 7 weeks. Milk yield was measured bi-weekly and milk composition was analysed for gross physicochemical composition and fatty acid (FA) profile. Both feeds reduced milk yield (−10 %) and milk protein content, whereas milk fat content was increased by tomato pomace. Both feeds resulted in similar changes in milk FA profile, namely less saturated and polyunsaturated FA and more monounsaturated FA including 18:1 trans FA. Tomato pomace and olive cake also resulted in increased n-6:n-3 FA ratios, while the proportion of the conjugated linoleic acids was not affected by either treatment. In conclusion, the response of the ewes on farm was clear and similar in nature for most of milk-related traits as that found on station, but lower in magnitude. © 2014, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.

Rerat M.,Institute for Livestock science | Schlegel P.,Institute for Livestock science
Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition | Year: 2014

Dry cow diets based on grassland forage from intensive production contain high amounts of K and could be responsible for a reduced ability to maintain Ca homoeostasis. The aim of this study was to determine whether a moderate anionic salt supplementation to a forage-based pre-calving diet with varying native K content affects the mineral and acid-base status in transition cows. Twenty-four dry and pregnant Holstein cows, without antecedent episodes of clinical hypocalcemia, were assigned to two diets during the last 4 weeks before estimated calving date. Twelve cows were fed a hay-based diet low in K (18 g K/kg DM), and 12, a hay-based diet high in K (35 g K/kg DM). Within each diet, six cows received anionic salts during the last 2 weeks before the estimated calving day. After calving, all cows received the high K diet ad libitum. Blood samples were taken daily from day 11 pre-partum to day 5 post-partum. Urine samples were taken on days 7 and 2 pre-partum and on day 2 post-partum. The anionic salt did not alter feed intake during the pre-partum period. Serum Ca was not influenced by the dietary treatments. Feeding pre-partum diets with low K concentrations induced a reduced metabolic alkalotic charge, as indicated by reduced pre-partum urinary base-acid quotient. Transition cows fed the low K diet including anionic salts induced a mild metabolic acidosis before calving, as indicated by higher urinary Ca, lower urinary pH and net acid-base excretion. Although serum Ca during the post-partum period was not affected by dietary treatment, feeding a low K diet moderately supplemented with anionic salts to reach a dietary cation-anion difference close to zero permitted to obtain a metabolic response in periparturient cows without altering the dry matter intake. © 2013 Blackwell Verlag GmbH.

Helmreich S.,Institute for Livestock science | Hauser R.,Institute for Livestock science | Jungbluth T.,University of Hohenheim | Wechsler B.,Institute for Livestock science | Gygax L.,Institute for Livestock science
Livestock Science | Year: 2014

Adequate lying times and feed consumption are essential for the welfare and performance of dairy cows. The time budget of cows housed in barns with an automatic milking system (AMS) might be constrained in several ways. Cows with a high milking frequency might also have to visit the AMS at night, possibly interfering with their night-time lying behavior. Moreover, competition for access to the AMS might cause some cows to spend more time waiting in front of the milking unit, resulting in a lower milking frequency. In the present study, the individual total duration of stay and time spent per visit in the feeding, lying and waiting area, as well as lying behavior, was therefore investigated in the daytime and throughout the night in relation to milking frequency. A total of 138 focal cows (day of lactation: 1-200) housed on 4 Swiss working farms with an AMS were automatically tracked for 48. h. Individual lying times were recorded over 7 days with data loggers. The daily milking frequency was calculated from the AMS records and included as a continuous explanatory variable in linear mixed-effects models. Time spent in the waiting area at night increased with increasing milking frequency. In addition, cows with a relatively high milking frequency had shorter daytime lying bouts, and spent less time in the lying area per visit during the daytime as well as at night. The same individuals also visited the feeding area for shorter times during the day, and on average remained longer per visit in the waiting area at night. The daily time budget of cows with a relatively low milking frequency was not adversely affected. Cows with a relatively high milking frequency may face some trade-offs in their time-budget allocation, since the increased time spent by them in the waiting area at night as well as their shorter lying bouts might affect their welfare, health and performance. Nevertheless, the overall daily time budget for lying and feeding, and hence the welfare of cows with both a relatively high or low milking frequency, suffered no obvious adverse effects. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.

Deleglise C.,Institute for Livestock science | Deleglise C.,Swiss Federal Institute of forest | Meisser M.,Institute for Livestock science | Mosimann E.,Institute for Livestock science | And 8 more authors.
Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment | Year: 2015

Extreme drought events can dramatically impact grassland ecosystems, causing potential loss of forage production for livestock in temperate grasslands. However, knowledge of drought effects on forage production, nutritive value and plant community stability in the real context of farming management is scarce. For this purpose, the effect of a simulated summer drought was studied under two realistic management types on a semi-natural grassland in the Swiss Jura mountains. The first management ("grazing") consisted in six consecutive utilizations by animals over the growing season, representing a rotational grazing system as regionally conducted. The second management ("mowing") consisted of three harvests, corresponding to the usual mowing frequency of hay meadows. In both managements, drought caused minor short-term modifications of species composition and almost no persistent effects were observed. Besides, important short-term changes were observed in community weighted mean of several key functional traits, reflecting a strong decline in community growth during the drought followed by a partial recovery two months later. Forage yields, and to a lesser extent its nutritive value, thus declined during the drought period. Both were still affected in the following months, but had recovered in spring of the following year. Forage loss was twofold higher in the grazing management, but recovery as well as nutritive value was slightly improved in this management. The results suggest that rotational grazing can amplify negative drought impacts, compared to traditional mowing, and highlight the need to adapt such management in dry years. They also demonstrate that, even under a fairly intensive management, resilience of such mountain grasslands after one extreme drought event can be expected to be high, with no persistent changes in species and trait compositions. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.

Ponce C.H.,West Texas A&M University | Brown M.S.,West Texas A&M University | Silva J.S.,West Texas A&M University | Schlegel P.,Institute for Livestock science | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Animal Science | Year: 2014

Two experiments were conducted to explore the effects of a sodium saccharin-based dietary sweetener (Sucram) on growth performance, health, and physiological responses of feedlot steers. In Exp. 1, 173 newly-received male calves purchased from auction barns were fed 0, 100, 200, or 300 g of Sucram/t of DM over 56 d. Overall, ADG and G:F (P > 0.10) were not different among treatments, but steers receiving 200 g Sucram/t displayed numerically greater ADG (23%). In addition, DMI was 17% greater for steers receiving 200 g of Sucram/t compared to steers fed the control diet (cubic effect, P = 0.09). The morbidity rate for respiratory disease did not differ (P > 0.50) among treatments. In Exp. 2, 15 steers (initial BW = 261 ± 28 kg) were used to evaluate the effects of Sucram on apparent total tract digestibility, plasma metabolite concentrations, and urine monoamine metabolite concentrations. Treatments consisted of ad libitum access to a 60% concentrate diet (Control), ad libitum access to Control + 200 g of Sucram/t of DM (Adlib), and Control + 200 g of Sucram/t of DM with feed intake paired to the Control (Paired). By design, steer DMI during the metabolism period did not differ (P = 0.34) between Paired and Control, but DMI tended (P = 0.14) to be 8.2% greater for Adlib than for Control. Treatments did not alter (P > 0.17) apparent total tract nutrient digestibility. Postprandial plasma citrulline concentration was lower (P = 0.03) for Adlib than for Control and tended to be lower (P = 0.13) for Paired than for Control. Plasma homocysteine concentration was reduced (P < 0.03) by feeding Sucram. Urinary concentrations of ethylmalonic acid, vanillymandelic acid, and 5-hydroxyindolacetic acid were greater (P < 0.06) for Adlib than for Control; Paired steers had a greater (P = 0.02) urine vanillymandelic acid concentration than Control steers and tended (P < 0.12) to have a greater urinary concentration of ethylmalonic and 5-hydroxyindolacetic acid than Control steers. Serum insulin was greater for Adlib than for Control steers (P = 0.04) and tended to be greater for Paired than for Control steers (P = 0.14), but serum prolactin area did not differ (P > 0.22) among treatments. Supplementation with Sucram may increase feed intake by newly-received, stressed feedlot calves. Saccharin supplementation reduced plasma homocysteine and increased urinary excretion of vanillymandelic acid, suggesting an improved activity of the dopamine reward system. © 2014 American Society of Animal Science. All rights reserved.

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