Skip to main content Accessibility help

Milk yield and milk composition responses to change in predicted net energy and metabolizable protein: a meta-analysis

  • J. B. Daniel (a1) (a2), N. C. Friggens (a1), P. Chapoutot (a1), H. Van Laar (a2) and D. Sauvant (a1)...


Using a meta-analysis of literature data, this study aimed to quantify the dry matter (DM) intake response to changes in diet composition, and milk responses (yield, milk component yields and milk composition) to changes in dietary net energy for lactation (NEL) and metabolizable protein (MP) in dairy cows. From all studies included in the database, 282 experiments (825 treatments) with experimentally induced changes in either NEL or MP content were kept for this analysis. These treatments covered a wide range of diet characteristics and therefore a large part of the plausible NEL and MP contents and supplies that can be expected in practical situations. The average MP and NEL contents were, respectively (mean±SD), 97±12 g/kg DM and 6.71±0.42 MJ/kg DM. On a daily supply basis, there were high between-experiment correlations for MP and NEL above maintenance. Therefore, supplies of MP and NEL above maintenance were, respectively, centred on MP supply for which MP efficiency into milk protein is 0.67, and NEL above maintenance supply for which the ratio of NEL milk/NEL above maintenance is 1.00 (centred variables were called MP67 and NEL100). The majority of the selected studies used groups of multiparous Holstein-Friesian cows in mid lactation, milked twice a day. Using a mixed model, between- and within-experiment variation was split to estimate DM intake and milk responses. The use of NEL100 and MP67 supplies substantially improved the accuracy of the prediction of milk yield and milk component yields responses with, on average, a 27% lower root mean square error (RMSE) relative to using dietary NEL and MP contents as predictors. For milk composition (g/kg), the average RMSE was only 3% lower on a supply basis compared with a concentration basis. Effects of NEL and MP supplies on milk yield and milk component yields responses were additive. Increasing NEL supply increases energy partitioning towards body reserve, whereas increasing MP supply increases the partition of energy towards milk. On a nitrogen basis, the marginal efficiency decreases with increasing MP supply from 0.34 at MP67=−400 g/day to 0.07 at MP67=300 g/day. This difference in MP67 supply, assuming reference energy level of NEL100=0, equates to a global nitrogen efficiency decrease from 0.82 to 0.58. The equations accurately describe DM intake response to change in dietary contents and milk responses to change in dietary supply and content of NEL and MP across a wide range of dietary compositions.


Corresponding author


Hide All
Allen, MS 2000. Effects of diet on short-term regulation of feed intake by lactating dairy cattle. Journal of Dairy Science 83, 15981624.
Alstrup, L, Weisbjerg, MR, Hymøller, L, Larsen, MK, Lund, P and Nielsen, MO 2014. Milk production response to varying protein supply is independent of forage digestibility in dairy cows. Journal of Dairy Science 97, 44124422.
Bauman, DE 2000. Regulation of nutrient partitioning during lactation: homeostasis and homeorhesis revisited. In Ruminant physiology: digestion, metabolism and growth and reproduction (ed. PB Cronjé), pp. 311327. CABI Publishing, New York, NY, USA.
Bauman, DE and Griinari, JM 2003. Nutritional regulation of milk fat synthesis. Annual Review of Nutrition 23, 203227.
Baumont, R, Dulphy, JP, Sauvant, D, Meschy, F, Aufrère, J and Peyraud, JL 2007. Valeur alimentaire des fourrages et des matières premières: tables et prévision. In Alimentation des bovins, ovins et caprins. Besoins des animaux – Valeur des aliments – Tables INRA 2007, mise à jour 2010 (ed. J Agabriel), pp. 153290. Editions Quae, Versailles, France.
Broderick, GA 2003. Effects of varying dietary protein and energy levels on the production of lactating dairy cows. Journal of Dairy Science 86, 13701381.
Brun-Lafleur, L, Delaby, L, Husson, F and Faverdin, P 2010. Predicting energy × protein interaction on milk yield and milk composition in dairy cows. Journal of Dairy Science 93, 41284143.
Burnham, KP and Anderson, DR 2002. Model selection and multimodel inference, 2nd edition. Springer Verlag, New York City, New York, USA.
Coulon, JB and Rémond, B 1991. Variations in milk output and milk protein-content in response to the level of energy supply to the dairy cow – a review. Livestock Production Science 29, 3147.
Cowan, RT, Reid, G, Greenhalgh, J and Tait, C 1981. Effects of feeding level in late pregnancy and dietary protein concentration during early lactation on food intake, milk yield, liveweight change and nitrogen balance of cows. Journal of Dairy Research 48, 201212.
Dijkstra, J, Kebreab, E, Mills, JAN, Pellikaan, WF, López, S, Bannink, A and France, J 2007. Predicting the profile of nutrients available for absorption: from nutrient requirement to animal response and environmental impact. Animal 1, 99111.
Faverdin, P, M’Hamed, D and Vérité, R 2003. Effects of metabolizable protein on intake and milk production of dairy cows independent of effects on ruminal digestion. Animal Science 76, 137146.
Friggens, NC, Brun-Lafleur, L, Faverdin, P, Sauvant, D and Martin, O 2013. Advances in predicting nutrient partitioning in the dairy cow: recognizing the central role of genotype and its expression through time. Animal 7, 89101.
Huhtanen, P and Hetta, M 2012. Comparison of feed intake and milk production responses in continuous and change-over design dairy cow experiments. Livestock Science 143, 184194.
Huhtanen, P and Nousiainen, J 2012. Production responses of lactating dairy cows fed silage-based diets to changes in nutrient supply. Livestock Science 148, 146158.
Jensen, C, Østergaard, S, Schei, I, Bertilsson, J and Weisbjerg, MR 2015. A meta-analysis of milk production responses to increased net energy intake in Scandinavian dairy cows. Livestock Science 175, 5969.
Lapierre, H, Galindo, CE, Lemosquet, S, Ortigues-Marty, I, Doepel, L and Ouellet, DR 2010. Protein supply, glucose kinetics and milk yield in dairy cows. In Energy and protein metabolism and nutrition (ed. GM Crovetto), pp. 275286. Wageningen Academic Publishers, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Law, RA, Young, FJ, Patterson, DC, Kilpatrick, DJ, Wylie, ARG and Mayne, CS 2009. Effect of dietary protein content on animal production and blood metabolites of dairy cows during lactation. Journal of Dairy Science 92, 10011012.
Macleod, GK, Grieve, DG, McMillan, I and Smith, GC 1984. Effect of varying protein and energy densities in complete rations fed to cows in first lactation. Journal of Dairy Science 67, 14211429.
Mertens, DR 1985. Factors influencing feed intake in lactating cows: from theory to application using neutral detergent fiber. Proceedings of the Georgia Nutrition Conference, Atlanta, GA, USA, pp. 1–18.
Metcalf, J, Mansbridge, R, Blake, J, Oldham, J and Newbold, J 2008. The efficiency of conversion of metabolisable protein into milk true protein over a range of metabolisable protein intakes. Animal 2, 11931202.
National Research Council 2001. Nutrient requirements of dairy cattle, 7th revised edition. National Academy Press, Washington, DC, USA.
Oldham, JD and Emmans, GC 1989. Prediction of responses to required nutrients in dairy cows. Journal of Dairy Science 72, 32123229.
Ørskov, ER, Reid, GW and Tait, CAG 1987. Effect of fish meal on the mobilization of body energy in dairy cows. Animal Production 45, 345348.
Rius, AG, McGilliard, ML, Umberger, C and Hanigan, MD 2010. Interactions of energy and predicted metabolizable protein in determining nitrogen efficiency in the lactating dairy cow. Journal of Dairy Science 93, 20342043.
Sauvant, D 1992. La modelisation systémique en nutrition. Reproduction Nutrition Development 32, 217230.
Sauvant, D, Cantalapiedra-Hijar, G, Delaby, L, Daniel, JB, Faverdin, P and Nozière, P 2015. Actualisation des besoins protéiques des ruminants et détermination des réponses des femelles laitières aux apports de protéines digestibles dans l’intestin (PDI). INRA Production Animales 28, 347368.
Sauvant, D and Nozière, P 2016. The quantification of the main digestive processes in ruminants: the equations involved in the renewed energy and protein feed evaluation systems. Animal 10, 755770.
Sauvant, D, Schmidely, P, Daudin, JJ and St-Pierre, NR 2008. Meta-analyses of experimental data in animal nutrition. Animal 2, 12031214.
St-Pierre, NR 2001. Integrating quantitative findings from multiple studies using mixed model methodology. Journal of Dairy Science 84, 741755.
St-Pierre, NR and Glamocic, D 2000. Estimating unit costs of nutrients from market prices of feedstuffs. Journal of Dairy Science 83, 14021411.
van Duinkerken, G, Blok, MC, Bannink, A, Cone, JW, Dijkstra, J, van Vuuren, AM and Tamminga, S 2011. Update of the Dutch protein evaluation system for ruminants: the DVE/OEB2010 system. Journal of Agricultural Science 149, 351367.
van Knegsel, ATM, van den Brand, H, Dijkstra, J, van Straalen, WM, Heetkamp, MJW, Tamminga, S and Kemp, B 2007. Dietary energy source in dairy cows in early lactation: energy partitioning and milk composition. Journal of Dairy Science 90, 14671476.
Vérité, R and Delaby, L 2000. Relation between nutrition, performances and nitrogen excretion in dairy cows. Annales De Zootechnie 49, 217230.
Vérité, R, Michalet-Doreau, B, Chapoutot, P, Peyraud, JL and Poncet, C 1987. Révision du système des protéines digestibles dans l’intestin (PDI). Bulletin Technique CRZV Theix, INRA 70, 1934.
Volden, H 2011. NorFor – the Nordic feed evaluation system. EAAP Publication. Wageningen Academic Publishers, Wageningen, the Netherlands.


Type Description Title
Supplementary materials

Daniel supplementary material
Daniel supplementary material 1

 Word (68 KB)
68 KB

Milk yield and milk composition responses to change in predicted net energy and metabolizable protein: a meta-analysis

  • J. B. Daniel (a1) (a2), N. C. Friggens (a1), P. Chapoutot (a1), H. Van Laar (a2) and D. Sauvant (a1)...


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed