Conclusions

This chapter indicates that it is possible to evaluate ruminant diets for amino acid adequacy and to use this information to make dietary changes that will improve performance. The production of meat and milk from ruminants is becoming more efficient in the use of nutrients by using models to predict accurately requirements and feed utilization in each unique production setting. These models must allow inputs from each situation to be adjusted in a logical way until the cattle and feeds are accurately described. Then when predicted and observed performance (daily gain, milk amount and composition, and body condition score changes) agree, improved feeding programmes can be accurately formulated for that unique situation where nutritional safety factor and nutrient excretion are minimized. The challenge will be to develop systems that are aggregated at a level that can accurately reflect our understanding of the underlying biology, yet be usable on farm considering information available, ability to monitor and quantify key input variables and animal responses, and knowledge and time available of the consultant using the models.

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