Animal differences (i.e., age, parity, days in milk, genetic potential) and management factors (i.e., crowding, time budgets, facilities) affect production and animal health. So how is it that two cows fed the same diet can have completely different responses?

“Cows simply have individualized and unique populations of bacteria in their rumens that may not all react alike,” explains Kurt Cotanch with the Miner Agricultural Research Institute in Chazy, N.Y.

Cotanch examines this concept in more detail in the January 2012 Miner Farm Report. He discusses the extreme variation in milk fat levels observed in a group of lactating cows that were all fed the same diet at the Miner Institute. He also summarizes results of a research trial from the U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center that may help explain the varied responses of cows to nearly identical feeding and management situations.

Click here to read “Ruminal bacterial community, cow specific?” in the January 2012 Miner Farm Report.

Source: January 2012 Miner Agricultural Research Institute Farm Report