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Recording rumination time by a rumination monitoring system in Jersey heifers fed grass/clover silage and hay at three feeding levels

M V Byskov, A K S Schulze, M R Weisbjerg, B Markussen, P Nørgaard
Journal of Animal Science 2014, 92 (3): 1110-8
24492571
This study was conducted with the objective to validate a rumination monitoring system (RMS). The RMS was developed by SCR Engineers Ltd. (Netanya, Israel) to record individual rumination times in commercial dairy herds. Four heifers were fed 4 forage types at 3 feeding levels in 4 periods in a Latin square design. The forage types were spring growth of grass/clover harvested early (May 9) and late (May 25) conserved as silage and hay, creating 4 forage types: early harvest silage (ES), early harvest hay (EH), late harvest silage (LS), and late harvest hay (LH). Feeding levels were ad libitum, 90% of ad libitum, and 60% of ad libitum. Data were collected for 24 h at ad libitum feeding level, for 96 h at 90% of ad libitum, and for 24 h at 60% of ad libitum. Rumination time was recorded by the RMS in minutes per 2-h interval (RT(RMS2_i)) and per 24-h interval (RT(RMS24)). As a reference method, rumination time was recorded by chewing halters identifying rumination time by jaw movements (JM) and was accumulated into minutes per 2-h interval (RT(JM2_i)) and per 24-h interval (RT(JM24)) over the same time intervals as RT(RMS2_i) and RT(RMS24). Differences between RT(RMS2_i) and RT(JM2_i) were observed for EH, LS, and LH, with differences of 3.4 (P < 0.001), 1.1 (P = 0.03), and 3.3 (P < 0.001) min per 2-h interval. In addition, feeding restrictively at 90% and 60% of ad libitum resulted in greater rumination time recorded by the RMS compared to JM, with differences of 2.6 min per 2-h interval (P < 0.001) for 90% of ad libitum and 1.6 min per 2-h interval (P = 0.01) for 60% of ad libitum. Further, the differences between rumination times recorded by the RMS compared to JM were different among the 4 heifers. Despite these effects, rumination time recorded by the RMS correlated well with rumination time recorded by JM with correlation between RT(RMS2_i) and RT(JM2_i) of r = 0.91 (P < 0.001) and between RT(RMS24) and RT(JM24) of r = 0.79 (P < 0.001).

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