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Feed Ration Planning in Dairy Cattle Herds

This course is open for applications from May 1 – May 31

Before the course students individually prepare a report (2 standard pages) about their current and previous national feed evaluation system for dairy cattle and a presentation (10 min), that has to be given the first day, about themselves. Their master/PhD project, and what they have used/will use feed evaluation and ration planning for. The report must be handed in at the start of the residential course. 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. The group report must be handed in two weeks (14 days) after ending of the residential course.

The course will handle feed supply, including crop rotation, crop production, effects on self-supply, and optimization of feed allocation within and among animal categories/groups, including forage/concentrate ratio. Further feed production is described, including the effect of conservation and processing on feed quantity and quality. Feed evaluation including feed analyses and evaluation, and variation between different systems in energy and protein values and input parameters is discussed. Further nutrient requirements, and effects of ration formulation on cows response on individual and group level, as well as feed intake capacity is discussed. The use of mathematical models to describe digestion and metabolism, and model types (mechanistic vs. empirical, dynamic vs. static, additive vs. non-additive, etc.) will be discussed, and also models describing digestion kinetics is part of the course. Feed planning systems and evaluation tools will be compared and discussed, and there will be worked actively with the system NorFor, and others, in a comparative approach. Feed budgeting and planning exercises is performed on a real life situation. The course will end in discussing feed ration optimization to optimize production level, to maximize the difference between input costs and output revenue, hereunder discussion on diminishing returns at increased input level.

Exam info and full course description

Exam info and full course description can be found in the course catalogue.

Please notice that this course is passed by active participation, and you will not receive a specific grade. Only pass/fail will appear on your transcript.

Admission Requirements

Course Specific:
To take this course you must hold a Bachelor's degree including courses in livestock animal physiology and nutrition


Exchange students: nomination from your home university

Freemovers: documentation for English Language proficiency

You can read more about admission here.


Please note that this course is an off-campus course and held at campus AU-Viborg, Research Centre Foulum, Blichers Allé 20, DK-8830 Tjele. Accommodation is not offered, but course leaders will be helpful to suggest potential hostels in Viborg. Public transport is available between Viborg and Foulum. It will therefore not be possible to get housing through AU for this course, get help in the Information Desk or participate in social activities facilitated by AU Summer University.