Quantitative prediction of feed intake in ruminants Academic Article uri icon


  • A comparison of feed intake prediction models for sheep and cattle was conducted for identical data sets. The objective was to determine the degree of agreement between model predictions. This exercise concludes a series of papers on current quantitative concepts in the prediction of feed intake in cattle and sheep. A discussion of mathematical, conceptual and implementation properties of these models is provided. The central result of the study is the conclusion that quantitative models for the prediction of feed intake seem to be inadequate not only for robust prediction of intake levels, but also in conceptual and often mathematical terms. More importantly, the analysis provides disturbing evidence of the failure of model developers to thoroughly examine the theoretical basis of key assumptions upon which their models rest. Although it would be clearly more appropriate to formulate models as researchable hypotheses, given the current state of knowledge of intake regulation in ruminants, this is generally not done. Conflict of experimental evidence with model concepts was never found to be a stated incentive for experimental research. © 2001 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

published proceedings

  • Livestock Production Science

author list (cited authors)

  • Pittroff, W., & Kothmann, M. M

citation count

  • 10

complete list of authors

  • Pittroff, Wolfgang||Kothmann, M Mortimer

publication date

  • October 2001