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Efficient utilisation of forage maize by dairy cattle: key plant parameters, genetic determinism, impact on milk production, animal behaviour and environment *

Contract nr: QLRT-CT-2000-01262
Project type: RS (Research and Technological Development Project)
Starting date:
Duration: 48 months
Total cost: 3,402,815 EUR
EC Contribution: 2,121,711 EUR
Scientific Officer:
Research topic: 5.1.1. Sustainable agriculture/Plant Systems

Abstract:
Forage maize is a pillar component of ruminent diets. It is particulary important in dairy cattle where, due to its high energetic value, maize silage has a unique ability to provide sufficient energy to sustain milk production, and it increases the efficiency of milk production by improving milk yield and quality. In order to maximise the chances of success in the breeding of maize for improved forage-use efficiency, a better understanding of the plant parameters involved, and of their 'interactions' with the animal, needs to be developed in three phases:
1) Identification of the key plant parameters involved in maize forage use efficiency, and understanding their relationships;
2) Unravelling of the genetic determinism of these key plant parameters, and of their potential genetic inter-reationships;
3) Assessment of the impact of altering these characteristics; and through changes in allele composition at some of their major explanatory loci, on milk production, feeding behaviour, animal welfare and the environment.


Objectives:
In order to maximise the chances of success in the breeding of maize for improved forage-use efficiency, a better understanding of the plant parameters involved, and of their 'interactions' with the animal, needs to be developed. Contributing to the development of this understanding in the case of dairy cattle constitutes the general objective of this project.

This can be split into sub-objectives as follows:
1) Identification of the key plant parameters involved in maize forage use efficiency, and understanding their relationships.
2) Unravelling of the genetic determinism of these key plant parameters, and of their potential genetic inter-relationships; and
3) Assessment of the impact of altering these characteristics, through changes in allele composition at some of their major explanatory loci, on milk production, feeding behaviour, animal welfare and the environment.


Coordinator
Benedikt TIMMERMAN
Novartis Seeds S.A.S.
Saint-Sauveur
FRANCE
Tel.: +33 5 62799866
Fax: +33 5 62799996
E-mail: benedikt.timmerman@seeds.novartis.com


Partners
  Robert BISTON
Centre de Recherches Agronomiques de Gembloux
Libramont
BELGIUM
Tel.: +32 81626553
Fax: +32 81626559
E-mail: cra@cragx.fgov.be systagri@cragx.fgov.be
  Hans DE VRIES
Id-Lelystad, Instituut voor Dierhouderij en Diergezondheid Bv
AB Lelystad
THE NETHERLANDS
Tel.: +31 320238238
Fax: +31 320238050
E-mail: h.w.devries@id.wag-ur.nl
  Lionel JACQUOT
Sanders Aliments
Paris
FRANCE
Tel.: +33 1 56753367
E-mail: ljacquot@glon-sanders.fr
  Ladislav HETENYI
Research Institute of Animal Production
Nitra
SLOVAK REPUBLIC
Tel.: +421 876546122
Fax: +421 876546361
E-mail: riaditel@vuzv.sk
  Horst GOTTFRIED
Federal Agricultural Research Center
Braunschweig
GERMANY
Tel.: +49 0531596302
Fax: +49 0531596368
E-mail: Horst.gottfried@fal.de
  André AYERBE
ARILAIT Recherches
Paris
FRANCE
Tel.: +33 1 49707295
Fax: +33 1 42806345
E-mail: aayerbe@arilait.com
  Les EBDON
University of Plymouth, Department of agriculture and food studies
Newton Abbot, Devon
UNITED KINGDOM
Tel.: +44 1752233700
Fax: +44 1752233711
E-mail: L.Ebdon@plymouth.ac.uk