Differences in dry matter intake of primiparous and multiparous lactating dairy cows assessed through multiple on-cow accelerometer sensors

Document Type


Publication Date



American Dairy Science Association


Journal of Dairy Science




Suppl. 1






accelerometer, intake, sensor technology


The objective of this study was to evaluate the use of 3-dimensional accelerometer sensors to estimate dry matter intake (DMI) in primipa- rous (PP) and multiparous (MP) lactating dairy cows. Forty mid- to late-lactation Holstein dairy cows (20 PP, 136 ± 21 DMI and 20 MP, 170 ± 51 DMI) housed in a freestall barn were fitted with 3 sensors that record acceleration in the 3-axis (i.e., x, y, and z), one sensor on the lateral side of the left hind leg and 2 attached to a halter directly superpose over the jaw and nose. Cows were assigned to either a collection (A; n = 20) or validation group (B; n = 20), and each group was comprised of 10 PP and 10 MP cows. Sensors were set to record the 3D accelera- tions at 10-s intervals. Cows were trained to use Calan gates during a 7-d period followed by a 10-d period of data collection of acceleration and individual intakes. Acceleration models highly associated with DMI determined in a previous study (Carpinelli et al., 2019; J Dairy Sci, 102:11483) were used to cross-reference accelerometer data, and DMI in group A. Six additional variables were derived from jaw and nose accelerations by measuring the change in acceleration between 2 consecutive time points (i.e., lag time). The REG procedure of SAS was used in group A to obtain the intercept (B0) and slope (B1) for each acceleration model. Then, in group B, B0 and B1 were used in the respec- tive acceleration models to derive an acceleration-based DMI (DMIA). The DMIA generated for MP and PP in group B was tested using the MIXED procedure of SAS to confirm parity differences in DMI. As expected, MP cows had a greater (P < 0.01) DMI than PP (27.2 vs 23.1 ± 0.6 kg/d). Similarly, the LegZ+JawX+LagNoseY model was able to capture the difference in DMIA between MP and PP cows (P < 0.05; 26.1 vs. 25.5 ± 0.2 kg/d), while there was a trend (P = 0.06) for differences in DMIA between groups when applying the JawX+LagNoseY (26.0 vs 25.7 ± 0.1 kg/d) and LegZ+JawX (26.1 vs 25.6 ± 0.2 kg/d) models. The contrasting underestimation and overestimation of intake in MP and PP cows via acceleration underscores the need for future refinements to this approach. However, results from this study suggest a great potential of using accelerometer sensors to estimate feed intake in dairy cows.

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