Energy Metabolism and Feed Efficiency – Feeding the Metabolic Race Car – Dr. Paul Kononoff, University of Nebraska – Lincoln and Logan Morris, Perdue

Posted: September 14, 2021


Dr. Paul Kononoff, University of Nebraska – Lincoln

Dr. Logan Morris, Perdue

Episode 24: Energy Metabolism and Feed Efficiency – Feeding the Metabolic Race Car

Podcast Topic

As we move into the fall and new silage is going into the bunkers, we wanted to take a closer look at energy metabolism and the mechanics of feed efficiency. Let’s talk about heat production and metabolism. Dr. Paul Kononoff joined us for a webinar on August 4th, 2021, to review the basics of energetics and new science that will help feed cows better.


To kick things off, Dr. Paul Kononoff answers Scott’s question about how our understanding of energetics changed over the last 60 years. He explained the animals have changed dramatically as well as how we view energy when it is supplied to the cows. Feed characterization has changed since the sixties as well as NRC requirements of dairy cattle and how we measure it. (7:00)

Dr. Logan Morris discussed their study on factors that influence heat production. They found the two biggest factors were dry matter and body weight. Bodyweight represents the maintenance energy expenditure, which keeps the cow alive and functioning. Dry matter intake drives the rest of heat production. Higher dietary protein leads to more heat production and generates more milk protein which leads to more heat production. (15:04)

Dr. Logan Morris discusses the change in the industry over the past four or five years and how producers now face production caps and quota systems. He discussed his research on starch and fat and how higher starch increased milk yield. To produce a concentrated product for lowest milk volume, with maximum components, the study suggested feeding a lower dietary starch to prevent an increase in milk yield. (28:56)

Dr. Paul Kononoff discussed the effect energy mobilization of tissue has on feed efficiency. When looking at dairy cattle there are different physiological stages, different ages and different lactation stages. Feed efficiency can be extremely valuable and a useful proxy but can be misleading so you have to understand the conditions around it. (34:46)

Dr. Logan Morris discusses his research that shows starch and fat act differently when influencing milk protein production. (49:43)

Dr. Paul Kononoff is also participating in the new NRC release. You can view the five-webinar series from Balchem on the NRC at

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