Source Publication (e.g., journal title)

Journal of Dairy Science

Document Type


Publication Date

August 2009


A mechanistic and dynamic model was developed to represent physiological aspects of particle dynamics in the reticulo-rumen (RR) and to predict rate of passage out of the RR (Kp) of forage particles quantitatively. The model consists of 2 conceptual pools with 3 spatial compartments of particles; the compartment the particle enters is based on functional specific gravity (FSG). The model assumes 2 major pressure gradient-driven flows of particles out of the RR through the reticulo-omasal orifice between 2 consecutive primary reticular contractions. One is associated with the second phase of primary reticular contraction and involves propulsion of particles in the vicinity of the honeycomb structure of the reticulum from the RR. The second flow involves movement of particles in the reticulum without selection by size. Particle outflow rate was assumed to be proportional to liquid outflow rate. The passage coefficient, defined as the ratio of particle to liquid outflow rate, was estimated for each particle group by an equation derived from the probability of passage based on FSG and particle size. Particles retained on a 1.18-mm screen were defined as large particles. When the model was evaluated with 41 observations in an independent database, it explained 66% of the variation in observed Kp of forage particles with a root mean square prediction error of 0.009. With 16 observations that also included measurements of liquid passage rate, the model explained 81 and 86% of the variation in observed Kp liquid and Kp forage, respectively. An analysis of model predictions using a database with 455 observations indicated that the assumptions underlying the model seemed to be appropriate to describe the dynamics of forage particle flow out of the RR. Sensitivity analysis showed that probability of a particle being in the pool likely to escape is most critical in the passage of large forage particles, whereas the probability of being in the reticulum as well as in the likely to escape pool is important in the passage of small forage and concentrate particles. The FSG of a particle is more important in determining the fate of a particle than its size although they are correlated, especially for forage particles. We conclude that this model can be used to understand the factors that affect the dynamics of particle flow out of the RR and predict Kp of particles out of the RR in dairy cattle.


Journal of Dairy Science. Copyright American Dairy Science Association. Link to publisher version:

Files over 3MB may be slow to open. For best results, right-click and select "save as..."