To improve animal health and welfare of veal calves, since 1997, the European Union made mandatory the provision of a minimum daily amount (50 to 250 g) of fibrous feed in addition to the milk replacer diet. However more recently, the high costs of milk replacer ingredients have become an economic incentive to increase the amount of fibrous feed provided to the calves as partial substitute of the milk replacer. Solid feed provision has been shown to decrease abnormal behaviours such as oral stereotypes and improving calves rumination and rumen development. Moreover, increasing labour cost and herd sizes of the Italian veal sector have supported a growing interest by the calf producers towards the mechanization of the solid feed delivery. The main purpose of this paper is to show how the implementation of mechanized feeding systems can improve feed intake control, feeding rate and delivery efficiency if compared to the manual delivery of the solid portion of calves diet. Indeed, manual feeding is the most diffused system in veal calves dairy farm but exhibits many disadvantages in terms of distribution homogeneity and labour costs for the livestock farm. The study focuses on the results of an electric self-propelled prototype tested in a veal calves farm, allowing mixing of all solid feed ingredients and control of the weight of the feed delivered to each manger. It is shown how nutritional homogeneity can be improved, reducing deviations by a factor of 4 with respect to manual delivery in the case of crude protein and neutral detergent fiber. Additionally it is shown how single ration quantity variability can be reduced from over 30% in the case of manual delivery to less than 10% in the case of mechanized delivery.

Precision and efficiency of a mechanized delivery system of solid feeds for veal calves

PEZZUOLO, ANDREA;MAGRIN, LUISA;COZZI, GIULIO;MARINELLO, FRANCESCO;SARTORI, LUIGI
2015

Abstract

To improve animal health and welfare of veal calves, since 1997, the European Union made mandatory the provision of a minimum daily amount (50 to 250 g) of fibrous feed in addition to the milk replacer diet. However more recently, the high costs of milk replacer ingredients have become an economic incentive to increase the amount of fibrous feed provided to the calves as partial substitute of the milk replacer. Solid feed provision has been shown to decrease abnormal behaviours such as oral stereotypes and improving calves rumination and rumen development. Moreover, increasing labour cost and herd sizes of the Italian veal sector have supported a growing interest by the calf producers towards the mechanization of the solid feed delivery. The main purpose of this paper is to show how the implementation of mechanized feeding systems can improve feed intake control, feeding rate and delivery efficiency if compared to the manual delivery of the solid portion of calves diet. Indeed, manual feeding is the most diffused system in veal calves dairy farm but exhibits many disadvantages in terms of distribution homogeneity and labour costs for the livestock farm. The study focuses on the results of an electric self-propelled prototype tested in a veal calves farm, allowing mixing of all solid feed ingredients and control of the weight of the feed delivered to each manger. It is shown how nutritional homogeneity can be improved, reducing deviations by a factor of 4 with respect to manual delivery in the case of crude protein and neutral detergent fiber. Additionally it is shown how single ration quantity variability can be reduced from over 30% in the case of manual delivery to less than 10% in the case of mechanized delivery.
Precision Livestock Farming 2015 - Papers Presented at the 7th European Conference on Precision Livestock Farming, ECPLF 2015
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9788890975325
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11577/3171377
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