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      Creating a system for meeting the fiber requirements of dairy cows.

      Journal of dairy science
      Animal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena, Animals, Cattle, physiology, Dietary Fiber, administration & dosage, Female, Hydrogen-Ion Concentration, Nutritional Requirements, Rumen

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          Current NRC recommendations for dairy cattle provide limited guidance to nutritionists for meeting the fiber and carbohydrate needs of lactating cows. The NRC provide only minimum recommendations for fiber and no accommodation for factors such as physical effectiveness of fiber, interactions with nonfibrous carbohydrates, or animal attributes, which can affect the optimality of dairy rations. To be an improvement, any new system for meeting the fiber requirements of dairy cows must be based on 1) feed characteristics that can be defined and preferably be determined quantitatively using routine laboratory methods and 2) animal requirements that correspond to critical feed characteristics and vary with feeding situation, ration composition, and attributes of the animal. Published data were used to develop coefficients for defining the physical effectiveness or roughage value of feeds and the fiber requirements of dairy cows. Information in this paper is intended to provide practical guidelines for improving current fiber recommendations and to serve as an idealized framework for future research on meeting the fiber requirements of dairy cows. The system is based on NDF as the measure of total chemical fiber in feeds. Adjustments for the effectiveness of NDF in maintaining milk fat production and optimizing ruminal fermentation are based on the particle size and inherent characteristics of NDF that affect chewing activity, ruminal pH, and milk fat production.

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