Livestock feed intake assumptions in decision support tools; A stocktake of the current science and assumptions used by livestock models

  • Frater P
  • Howarth S
  • Mcewen G
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Abstract

Decision Support Tools (DSTs) and models are becoming increasingly important to make informed decisions. The aim of this review was to understand how the scientific assumptions behind related pasture-based DSTs used in New Zealand interrelate. Using modelled feed intake of grazing sheep as a case study, we reviewed the metabolisable energy (ME) assumptions of relevant New Zealand models. Although the DSTs were largely dependent on a common model, there were some discrepancies between them. We raise two concerns: 1. In New Zealand, pasture-based livestock models to predict ME intake are highly dependent on equations developed in Australia, not validated in New Zealand. 2. The minor discrepancies between models make collaboration difficult - this is particularly pertinent to farmer-targeted DSTs. Closer collaboration between DST companies and research institutions is required to agree on consistent, robust equations aligned with the latest scientific knowledge.

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Frater, P., Howarth, S., & Mcewen, G. J. (2015). Livestock feed intake assumptions in decision support tools; A stocktake of the current science and assumptions used by livestock models. Journal of New Zealand Grasslands, 77, 19–22. https://doi.org/10.33584/jnzg.2015.77.477

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