Quantifying Body Water Kinetics and Fecal and Urinary Water Output from Lactating Holstein Dairy Cows

J.A.D.R.N Appuhamy, University of California, Davis
C. Wagner-Riddle, University of Guelph
D. P. Casper, South Dakota State University
J. France, University of Guelph
E. Kebreab, University of California, Davis


Reliable estimates of fresh manure water output from dairy cows help to improve storage design, enhance efficiency of land application, quantify the water footprint, and predict nutrient transformations during manure storage. The objective of the study was to construct a mechanistic, dynamic, and deterministic mathematical model to quantify urinary and fecal water outputs (kg/d) from individual lactating dairy cows. The model contained 4 body water pools: reticulorumen (QRR), post-reticulorumen (QPR), extracellular (QEC), and intracellular (QIC). Dry matter (DM) intake, dietary forage, DM, crude protein, acid detergent fiber and ash contents, milk yield, and milk fat and protein contents, days in milk, and body weight were input variables to the model. A set of linear equations was constructed to determine drinking, feed, and saliva water inputs to QRRand fractional water passage from QRR to QPR. Water transfer via the rumen wall was subjected to changes in QEC and total water input to QRR. Post-reticulorumen water passage was adjusted for DM intake. Metabolic water production and respiratory cutaneous water losses were estimated with functions of heat production in the model. Water loss in urine was driven by absorbed N left after being removed via milk. Model parameters were estimated simultaneously using observed fecal and urinary water output data from lactating Holstein cows (n = 670). The model was evaluated with data that were not used for model development and optimization (n = 377). The observations in both data sets were related to thermoneutral conditions. The model predicted drinking water intake, fecal, urinary, and total fresh manure water output with root mean square prediction errors as a percentage of average values of 18.1, 15.6, 30.6, and 14.6%, respectively. In all cases, >97% of the prediction error was due to random variability of data. The model can also be used to determine saliva production, heat and metabolic water production, respiratory cutaneous water losses, and size of major body water pools in lactating Holstein cows under thermoneutral conditions.