Fodder Quality Specifications – Identifying predictors of preference between hays

  • 122 pages

  • Published: 27 May 2009

  • Author(s): Pain, Sarah, Revell, Dean

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This RIRDC Fodder Crops report describes a comprehensive analysis of the chemical and physical traits of oaten and lucerne hays that are related to the acceptability or ‘preference value’ of particular hays by dairy cows or horses.

Feed intake is an important factor affecting animal performance and productivity. The immediate response in intake when a new feed is offered, which can be quantified by a ‘preference value’ for the feedstuff, has important consequences to animal production and health. For both lactating dairy cows and performance horses it is important to avoid periods of low intake, as this can have immediate and sometimes longer term consequences on animal performance.

The chemical and physical characteristics of hays influence feed intake and animal performance but, until now, there has not been a study of sufficient scale to adequately relate a range of traits of hays to animal preferences.