Previously observed strong relationships between dry matter (DM) intake and milk yield in dairy cows were the basis for this meta-analysis aimed to determine the influence of intake of specific dietary nutrients on milk yield and milk protein yield in Holstein dairy cows. Diets (563) from feeding trials published in the Journal of Dairy Science were evaluated for nutrient composition using 2 diet evaluation programs. Intake of nutrients was estimated based on DM intake and program-derived diet composition. Data were analyzed with and without the effect of stage of lactation. Models based on intake of nutrients improved prediction of milk yield and milk protein yield compared with DM intake alone. Intake of net energy of lactation was the dominant variable in milk yield prediction models derived from both diet evaluation models. Milk protein yield models also improved prediction over the DM intake model. These models were dominated by ruminally undegradable protein intake and included a number of energy-related intake variables. In most models, incorporating stage of lactation improved the model fit.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Food Science
- Animal Science and Zoology