Submitted to: Symposium Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: March 31, 2006
Publication Date: April 20, 2006
Citation: Hall, M. 2006. Tools for monitoring rumen function in dairy cattle. IN: Proceedings for Dansk Boologisk Selskab, April 20, 2006, Braedstrup, Denmark. p. 10-15. Technical Abstract: Proper rumen function is essential to support the profitable performance we strive to sustain with dairy cattle. Excellent cow performance includes high yields of milk and milk components, but encompasses more elements: efficient conversion of consumed nutrients to milk, appropriate maintenance and repletion of body reserves, ease of rebreeding, good health and longevity, among them. Impairment of rumen function as noted with ruminal acidosis can undermine the cow's ability to perform up to her genetic potential, and may lead to her premature exit from the herd as an involuntary cull. It is in the best interests of farm and cow to maintain good rumen function that supports good performance. Indirect meaures that allow evaluation of adequacy of rumen function include rumination monitoring, fecal particle size and consistency evaluation, and evaluation of body condition as compared to predicted weight change. These elements reflect on rumen function, site of digestion, and utilization of the diet by the animal. Evaluation of rumen function combined with other observations can provide the information needed to determine dietary and management modifications needed to improve animal performance.