In a natural environment, equids spend over 16 hours a day grazing. Stabled horses are traditionally fed 2–3 times a day with limited amount of forage. This may lead to disturbances of the digestive system and/or behavioral problems. The aim of this study was to investigate whether intake decreases when using a net covering the forage. Six adult mares were housed together and fed for 60 minutes, five times a day. Forage was covered with the net tied to a metal frame. The mesh size of the applied two different nets was 4.5 x 4.5 cm and 3 x 3 cm. Horses were observed during 4 days of feeding hay and haylage (only with the 4.5 cm net) respectively, each with and without net. The forage intake was recorded three times a day. To investigate the impact of the net on the feed intake, the recorded data was statistically analyzed using a Wilcoxon-Rank Sum test as implemented in R. For haylage the difference in feed intake with or without net was not significant (mean 1.7 kg DM/h with net and 1.84 kg DM/h without net). Offering hay, we found a significant difference of the feed intake for three out of the six horses (mean 1.26 kg DM/h with 3cm net; 1.51 kg DM/h with 4.5 cm net and 1.69 kg DM/h without net). There were important individual differences between the horses, but the 3 cm net could significantly slow down the feed intake of hay.
Which stakeholders in the dairy sector have an influence on the productive life of dairy cows? Research results from FiBL and Agroscope suggest that broad-based cooperation is needed to create structures for a longer productive life.
Agriculture is aiming to reduce greenhouse gas and ammonia emissions. Agroscope showed that for dairy cattle housing, feed composition plays a role in these emissions as well as wind and temperature.
Lazzari G., Münger A., Eggerschwiler L., Borda-Molina D., Seifert J., Camarinha-Silva A., Schrade S., Zähner M., Zeyer K., Kreuzer M., Dohme-Meier F.
Tannin-containing feedstuffs like Acacia mearnsii and sainfoin (Onobrychis viciifolia) have a measurable impact in reducing methane emissions from dairy cows. However, since these feedstuffs in some cases lead to productivity losses, careful consideration must be given to their use.