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Nutrient Requirements of Dairy Cattle

To accelerate the update of the National Research Council's Nutrient Requirements of Dairy Cattle (7th rev. ed., 2001), ADSA is stepping up and needs your help!

Please review the potential list of updates, expansions/refinements, and additions (vetted by the ADSA Board) given at the end of this page. You are invited to suggest new areas for updating, expansion/refinement, and other additions that ADSA will propose for the 8th edition of Nutrient Requirements of Dairy Cattle. Please submit your input here: http://www.fass.org/survey/survey.asp?ID=117 by midnight (CST) on Friday, June 21, 2013. A meeting has been scheduled at the JAM for Monday, July 8, from 4:00 to 5:00 pm in Room 104 of the Convention Center to review the input and provide an overview of this initiative.

The ADSA Foundation has committed to funding 51% ($204,000) of the projected budget to move the update to the near-term. ADSA is looking for corporations and organizations that support the dairy industry to provide the balance of the budget ($196,000)—specifically, for 10 contributors at $19,600 each. If 10 contributors do not come forward by July 8 (the Monday meeting at JAM), ADSA will seek a greater number of contributors to participate at a lower sponsorship level. Recognition will be defined by the NRC. If your company or nonprofit organization is interested in sponsoring this high-visibility update, please contact ADSA Executive Director Peter Studney (peters@adsa.org), indicating your willingness to sponsor at $19,600.

Thank you—I look forward to seeing you at this important meeting in Indianapolis next month.

Cindie Luhman
ADSA Foundation Chair


Computer Model for Diet Formulation - Update of 2001

Update the 2001 Young Calf Model so that expected gains are more realistic for higher levels of milk/milk replacer intakes and for when starter is consumed early in life when there is limited rumen function.

Update all calf tables that show starter, grower, and milk replacer nutrient requirements, and generate more accurate growth predictions based on metabolizable energy intake and requirements.

Heifer model:

  • Generate full potential growth update
  • Generate new growth curves for high plane of nutrition preweaning
  • Evaluate and recommend postweaning/transition calf programs (from 100 to 200 kg)
  • Establish more current dry matter intake predictions for heifers beyond 200 kg body weight


  • Create amino acid requirements update and as that relates to rumen-protected amino acid supplementation
  • Update knowledge on postcalving and early lactation feeding
  • Create fatty acid model that establishes ruminal and intestinal metabolism
  • Establish starch degradation curves and predictive factors
  • Update knowledge on fiber feeding and metabolism
  • Review residual dry matter intake factors and impact
  • Review responses to organic versus inorganic minerals


  • Expansion of essential amino acid requirements with a supply model
  • Macro- and micromineral availability model, as well as update vitamin and trace mineral requirements
  • Lipid/fatty acid submodel for requirements for lactation, reproduction, and immunity effects
  • Expansion of feed library with amino acid digestibilities
  • Animal health submodel to include probiotic evaluations and enzyme actions
  • Expanded sections and more information added to chapters 9, 12, and 13:

    Chapter 9:

    • Transition cow information up-to-date
    • Hypocalcemia and dietary cation anion difference (DCAD)
    • Milk fat depression and impact of ruminal biohydrogenation
    • Use of ionophores for lactating cows

    Chapter 12:

    • Precision feeding information
    • Phosphorus utilization and whole-farm balance

    Chapter 13:

    • Add starch digestibility component
    • Add rumen-degradable starch component
    • Add cereal grain chemistry as it relates to rumen and intestinal metabolism and digestion.


Add a new section on feed additives (features and functions of classes of additives):

     Yeast products
     Bacterial cultures
     Oils and spices

Fiber or NDF digestibility

Metabolizable protein requirements

Individual fatty acid requirements, at least for linoleic and linolenic acids

Environmental impact: Meeting EPA restrictions:

     Nitrogen—effect on water quality;
     Phosphorus—elevated accumulation in soil from manure applications
     Carbon—climate change
     Potassium—effect of soil K on DCAD of harvested forages
     Methane reduction (see additives above)

Dairy nutrient requirements (already included in current publication and should be part of the revision scheme)

Feed efficiency—Adjusting for stage of lactation/nutrient partitioning

Agents potentially toxic to dairy cattle, such as mycotoxins.