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Feed ration planning in dairy cattle herds (2019)

ECTS credits:

Course parameters:
Language: English
Level of course: Combined Master’s and PhD course
Time of year: August 2019 (Summer University)
No. of contact hours/hours in total incl. preparation, assignment(s) or the like:
The workload is distributed as follows:

  • Preparation for the course: Self-study (20 h)
  • Course: Lectures, exercises, group work, excursions (100 h)
  • After the course: Report writing under supervision (30 h)

Capacity limits: 25 participants

Objectives of the course:
The objective of the course is to qualify the students to plan, evaluate and discuss feeding rations in commercial dairy herds. The teaching, student forum and the teacher collegium will be international with a focus on a Scandinavian setting.

Learning outcomes and competences:
At the end of the course, the student should be able to:

  • Describe and generate plans of feed supply: crop rotation, crop production, allocation of feeds among animal categories
  • Describe and discuss feed production: quantity, quality, conservation, processing
  • Describe and combine feed analyses and evaluation: energy, protein, input parameters for different systems
  • Describe and discuss elements of ration formulation: nutrient requirements, response curves, individuals/groups, feed intake
  • Describe and compare math models describing digestion and metabolism
  • Describe and compare feed planning and evaluation tools (NorFor and others)
  • Apply the NorFor tool in a real life situation of feed budgeting and planning
  • Discuss and relate feed ration optimisation to optimal production level, cost minimisation, diminishing returns

Compulsory programme:
Presence at all course activities and active participation in the course and in the group work is obligatory.

Course contents:
Before the course, students individually prepare a report (2 standard pages) and presentation (10 min) about their current and previous national feed evaluation system for dairy cattle. During the course students are trained to plan, evaluate and discuss feeding rations in commercial dairy herds using the NorFor system, and to discuss elements of this based on lectures, literature, farm data and cases, excursions, individual and group discussions, exercises and report writing. After the course students will prepare a group report (3-4 standard pages per student) on feed budgeting and planning in commercial dairy herds with a focus on ration optimisation to optimal production level and cost minimisation. At the end of the course the groups present their report outline and status.

Enrolment as PhD student. B.Sc. including courses in livestock animal physiology and nutrition.

Name of lecturers:
Course responsible:
Professor Martin Riis Weisbjerg, Aarhus University, Denmark, and postdoc Marianne Johansen, PhD, Aarhus University, Denmark

Tentative teacher list:

  • Associate Professor Egil Prestløkken, PhD, NMBU, Norway;
  • Researcher Thomas Pauly, PhD, SLU, Sweden;
  • Associate Professor Mark Hanigan, PhD, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, US;
  • Advisor Henrik Martinussen, SEGES, Denmark;
  • Senior Advisor Nicolai Ingemann Nielsen, PhD, SEGES, Denmark;
  • Senior Scientist Troels Kristensen, PhD, Aarhus University, Denmark;
  • Senior Scientist Søren Østergaard, Aarhus University, Denmark.

Type of course/teaching methods:
Lectures, exercises, group work, excursions

To be announced

Course homepage:

Course assessment:
The examination is a combination of 2 oral presentations with questioning, assessment of an individual and a group assignments (2 reports), and presence and active participation in the course.

Assessment: Passed/not passed.

Department of Animal Science, Aarhus University.

Special comments on this course:
This course is held as summer university in Aarhus. It is also offered as a NOVA master course.

5 - 15 August 2019.

AU Summer University, Campus Aarhus University, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark

For registration: Send an e-mail to Martin Riis Weisbjerg, martin.weisbjerg@anis.au.dk.
Seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

If you have any questions, please contact Professor Martin Riis Weisbjerg, e-mail: martin.weisbjerg@anis.au.dk.

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