A review of the effects of dairy breed on feed conversion efficiency - an opportunity lost?
M. E. Goddard and C. Grainger
The efficiency of conversion of feed to milk is an important determinant of farm productivity. One factor that has received little attention is the effect of breed on efficiency of feed use. Experimental data that has compared breeds (Holstein, Friesian, Jersey and Holstein-Friesian x Jersey crossbred cattle) for feed efficiency are reviewed. This includes data from New Zealand, USA and Europe. Feeds offered ranged from grazed pasture to total mixed rations. Experiments included short term component studies that measured feed intakes and milk production for periods ranging from 2 weeks to 7 months, whole lactation studies, farm systems comparisons over 3 years and calorimetry experiments. Differences between breeds in feed intake capacity, efficiency of milk solids production, energy metabolism and digestive capacity are highlighted. Opportunities for utilising breed differences in efficiency are outlined and future research is suggested. Keywords: feed conversion efficiency, dairy cattle, Holstein, Jersey
Full text doi:10.1071/SA0401020
© CSIRO 2004