Aarhus University Seal / Aarhus Universitets segl

1. Cattle nutrition and physiology

Our research aim and focus

With focus on a sustainable dairy production, the theme group aims to develop new feeding and management strategies based on an understanding of the underlying physiology to improve life-time productivity and feed efficiency, reduce the environmental impact and emission of greenhouse gases from cattle production without impairing animal production or product (milk and meat) quality/safety.

Our primary focus areas

  • The interaction between dietary energy level and level of different nutrients in relation to the rumen microbiome, cattle genomics, animal health, and milk quality, as well as potential downstream effects related to manure quality and management with a particular focus on N and P.
  • Quantification of absorption of nutrients and bioactive compounds from the gut, their metabolism in the body and excretion from the body
  • Quantification of enteric formation of greenhouse gasses (GHG) and development of new feed additives to reduce GHG emission
  • Providing data and research that forms the basis for modelling nutrient utilization and excretion and the basis for national inventory models
  • Development of management strategies for optimized growth and development (meat production), lactation (milk production, incl. mammary (re-)development, dry cow management, udder health), and reproduction.
  • Establish energy and nutrient requirements in different physiological stages (incl. strategies for phase feeding, prevention of nutrient imbalances, optimized reproduction and longevity).

Theme group coordinator

Mette Olaf Nielsen

Professor Department of Animal Science - ANIS Ruminant Nutrition (RUN)

Our research perspectives

Consumers are increasingly concerned about climate impacts of food production, animal well-being and healthy nutrition for animals and humans.

The perspective is to be able to design physiologically well-balanced diets for optimized production, health and longevity of cattle. 

The need for quantification and mitigation of the climate impact and environmental load of cattle production is indisputable, and is addressed by the development of more sustainable cattle production systems.