Evaluation of the passage rate equations in the 2001 Dairy NRC model. Academic Article uri icon


  • Dairy ration formulation to meet protein and amino acid requirements with the National Research Council Nutrient Requirements of Dairy Cattle (NRC, 2001) model depends on accuracy of predicting feed passage rates out of the rumen. The NRC (2001) passage rate (Kp) equations were evaluated for validity and sensitivity to input variables in predicting supplies of rumen degraded protein, rumen undegraded protein, and metabolizable protein. The database used in the development of the 3 Kp equations (for dry forage, wet forage, and concentrate) was used to independently derive the 3 equations using a meta-analysis technique. To extract quantitative relationships between statistically significant input variables and rate of passage, a random coefficients model that used each study effect as a random variable was used. The database was comprised of studies that only used rare earth markers. Outliers were identified by acceptance criteria defined a priori or the difference in fit statistic (DFFITS) value; 319, 63, and 139 treatment means were used to develop the Kp equations for dry forage, wet forage, and concentrate, respectively. We found that the sign of the regression coefficient for concentrate content in diet dry matter in the equation for Kp dry forage was inverted; it should be positive. A sensitivity analysis was conducted with a spreadsheet version of the NRC (2001) model developed for this study, using the Monte Carlo technique. The sensitivity analysis indicated that all Kp predictions were the most sensitive to variation in DM intake, and thus accurate measurement of DM intake is the most important factor in predicting Kp. Predictions for protein supply (rumen degraded protein, rumen undegraded protein, and metabolizable protein) were sensitive to variability in amount of feed crude protein (CP, %DM), digestion rate (Kd) of the B fraction of feed CP (%/h), and the Kp for concentrate (%/h), due to the high proportion of dietary CP in lactating dairy rations coming from concentrates. The sensitivity analysis indicated that accurate determinations of DMI, the Kd of the B fraction of feed CP, and feed CP are the most important variables needed to predict MP supply in lactating dairy cows with the NRC (2001) model. We conclude that the empirical Kp equations in the model are suitable for predicting passage rate in lactating dairy cows. More accurate predictions of Kp will require the development of a more mechanistic model that accounts for more of the biologically important variables (e.g., physical property of particles, liquid flow, and timely variation of intake) affecting passage rate.

published proceedings

  • J Dairy Sci

author list (cited authors)

  • Seo, S., Tedeschi, L. O., Schwab, C. G., Garthwaite, B. D., & Fox, D. G.

citation count

  • 28

complete list of authors

  • Seo, S||Tedeschi, LO||Schwab, CG||Garthwaite, BD||Fox, DG

publication date

  • June 2006