Additional concentrates do not affect feeding times of cows, but social positions of cows do
¹Estonian University of Life Sciences, Department of Animal Nutrition, Fr. R. Kreutzwaldi 46, EE51006 Tartu, Estonia
²Estonian University of Life Sciences, Department of Animal Breeding and Biotechnology, Fr. R. Kreutzwaldi 46, EE51006 Tartu, Estonia
In robotic milking dairy systems lack of control over intakes can be problematic for balancing the forage and concentrate portions of diets. This can lead to problems associated with high concentrate intakes and concomitant low forage intakes. To check this as a problem, the feeding behaviour of cows was observed: the number of daily visits to the feed barrier, the duration of these visits and actual feeding, of high and low yielding cows. The cows were robot-milked and fed a ration comprising, separately, concentrate feed from a robot and a feeder, and a grass/clover silage mix forage at the feed barrier. Individual variation in visiting times and times spent at the feed barrier were greater than the effect of level of production. There was no evidence that cows with higher milk yields are differentially motivated to feed from forage. But more dominant cows spent more time feeding than submissive cows.