MUNCH, an effective fiber application for dairy cows
Feeding diets low in effective fiber may precipitate and contribute to the cascade of factors associated with ruminal acidosis; but the interactive effects of dry matter intake, digestibility, nonstructural carbohydrate levels, should also be considered.
Feeding recommendations of carbohydrates of NRC (2001) were summarized in a simple table (see Table 4-3, Page 37 from that source). In this table minimum concentrations of forage NDF (fNDF), NDF, and non-fiber carbohydrates could be determined through interpolation. This table has proven to be extremely useful, but it did not include starch and also did not offer any recommendations regarding the particle size of a TMR.
Effective recommendations can be expanded and improved upon by considering and integrating major dietary factors that affects rumen condition. To do so we have created a system that based on observations and equations derived from a meta-analysis (White et al., 2017a). This new system named MUNCH, is a mobile phone application that generates feeding recommendations for diet characteristics that are based upon computation. All particle size measures used by MUNCH are determined with PSPS and on a DM basis.
MUNCH is based upon an ensemble modeling approach to generate means and confidence intervals to describe the need for particle size, fiber, and other dietary components in diets for lactating cows (White et al., 2017b). In this approach a "mixture of expert" (MEx) models from a range of dietary scenarios, such as high or low starch diets, are identified and rumen pH is then predicted with each expert model individually (Figure 1). The mean of the predicted pH is estimated based on dietary composition using expert algorithms. A confidence range is then estimated based on the minimum and maximum predictions of the ensemble. In practice, an ensemble of models aggregates predictions from multiple different models
Access to MUNCH Available free of charge on Google Play and App Store
White, R.R., M.B. Hall, J.L. Firkins, and P.J. Kononoff. 2017a. Physically adjusted neutral detergent fiber system for lactating dairy cow rations. I: Deriving equations that identify factors that influence effectiveness of fiber. Journal of Dairy Science 100:9551–9568. doi:10.3168/jds.2017-12765.
LINK to Open Access Article: https://www.journalofdairyscience.org/article/S0022-0302(17)30894-9/fulltext
White, R.R., M.B. Hall, J.L. Firkins, and P.J. Kononoff. 2017b. Physically adjusted neutral detergent fiber system for lactating dairy cow rations. II: Development of feeding recommendations. Journal of Dairy Science 100:9569–9584. doi:10.3168/jds.2017-12766.
LINK to Open Access Article: https://www.journalofdairyscience.org/article/S0022-0302(17)30895-0/fulltext