MINDY, a grazing ruminant in silico
The article Diurnal patterns of urination and drinking by grazing ruminants: a development in a mechanistic model of a grazing ruminant, MINDY is available Open Access in the Journal of Agricultural Science
Estimates of herbage and water intake with parallel measurements of ingestive, digestive and metabolic behaviours of grazing ruminants pose considerable experimental and technical difficulties. Matching these processes and patterns to animal excretion patterns, food preferences, selective behaviour and animal welfare measurements is even a greater challenge. Consequently, advances in systemic knowledge of the management and nutritional ecology of ruminants under grazing environments have been slow and costly.
MINDY (Gregorini et al., 2013; 2015; 2017 and 2018) is the ‘only model’ simulating diurnal grazing, food intake and preferences, digestion, drinking, excretion and comfort feeling patterns of a ruminant. MINDY, makes explicit decisions based on the functional relationships among direct and indirect controls of behavioural motivations of grazing ruminants. MINDY is a heuristic ‘tool’ to enabling investigators interested in different aspects of the nutrition, physiology and foraging ecology of grazing ruminants to have a common and heuristic tool for mechanistic and systemic research, allowing complex hypotheses to be tested in minutes ‘from the desk’.
The MINDY, project is led by Professor Pablo Gregorini from Lincoln University (New Zealand) and involves world-leading experts from the New Zealand, UK and US. New Zealand science groups use MINDY to make management/ policy decisions. Out of New Zealand, for example, MINDY is used to investigate foraging ecology of wild ruminants.
Gregorini P., Beukes PC, Romera AJ, Levy G, Hanigan MD. 2013. A model of diurnal grazing patterns and herbage intake of a dairy cow, MINDY: Model description. Ecological Modelling 270:11– 29.
P., J. J. Villalba, F. D. Provenza, P. C. Beukes and J. M. Forbes. 2015.
Modelling preference and diet selection patterns by grazing ruminants. Animal
Production Science 55: 360-375.
Gregorini, P., F. D. Provenza, J. J. Villalba, P. C. Beukes and M. J. Forbes. 2018. Diurnal patterns of urination and drinking by grazing ruminants: a development in a mechanistic model of a grazing ruminant, MINDY. Journal of Agricultural Science Cambridge. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0021859617000806
Gregorini P., F. D. Provenza, J. J. Villalba, P. C. Beukes and M. J. Forbes. 2018. Dynamics of forage ingestion, oral processing and digesta outflow from the rumen: a development in a mechanistic model of a grazing ruminant, MINDY. Journal of Agricultural Science Cambridge. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0021859618000886.
Photo credit: courtesy of Pablo Gregorini