Omodei Zorini/Savoini

Fabio Omodei Zorini graduated in July 2017 in Veterinary Medicine at the University of Milan (with honours) discussing a thesis titled "Oxidative status and inflammatory response in post-weaned piglets challenged with LPS and fed a mixture of antioxidants" (supervisor: Prof. Giovanni Savoini). The two years before graduation he attended the Clinic for Ruminants and Swine at the Large Animal Veterinary Teaching Hospital of Lodi, collaborating to clinical activities as internal student. His fields of interest are focused on the clinical implications of both monogastric and polygastric animals feeding, particularly as regard metabolic disorders of ruminants during the transition period.


Giovanni Savoini is full professor in Animal Nutrition and Feed Technology at the Università degli Studi di Milano, Department of Health, Animal Science and Food Safety. He is director of the Department of Health, Animal Science and Food Safety , expert for the panel GMO sub Food and Feed of EFSA, president of the Qualification Committee (2016-2018) “Animal Science and Technology” of the National Scientific Qualification of the Italian Ministry of Education (MIUR), president of the Nutrition Commission of the European Federation of Animal Science (EAAP). He was the coordinator of two PRIN projects financed by the Ministry of Education, two projects financed by Regione Lombardia, of local units of one project financed by Regione Lombardia and of a project financed by Fondazione CARIPLO, he is also scientific responsible of several projects financed by private companies. Associate and section editor of the Italian Journal of Animal Science. His research activity mainly concerns with the study of physiological and pathological aspects of ruminant and monogastric nutrition and its role on animal health. He published 84 papers on international journals and holds an H-Index of 17 (SCOPUS).

For more information, see:


Title: Improvement of feed efficiency in dairy ruminants

Animal production worldwide is experiencing a very controversial context: from one side developing countries asking for increased animal products and increasing their production chains; on the other side western countries evolving their systems to improve food quality, safety, sustainability and reduce waste and pollution. In this perspective, the animal feed industry plays a priority role in improving resource efficiency by increased nutrient efficiency, improving animal welfare by optimizing animal health through nutrition, and minimizing the footprint of animal production. Feed efficiency (FE) is defined as the relative ability of livestock to convert feed nutrients and energy into the desired output, which in case of dairy ruminants coincides with milk production. Nevertheless, FE is crucial not only for lactating cows, but also for growing heifers. For many years it was assumed that FE was correlated solely to feed intake (FI), in turn conditioned by environmental, physiological and pathological factors. Although it is undeniable that these factors may affect FI of farm animals, some evidences on the genetic basis of variations in both FI and FE of various species have recently been acquired.

Traditionally, most of the genetic selection programs for dairy ruminants have emphasized on selection for increasing milk yield; more recently, genetic improvement lines for milk quality (fatty acid profile), fertility and metabolic stability (resistance to metabolic disorders) have also been tried. On the other hand, to date few breeding programs include FE as a selection criterion. Selection for high FE represents a rational approach to animal productions: improving the FE of farm animals would result in a net increase of energy available for milk production as well as for maintenance (reduction of metabolic disorders) and reproductive functions (increase in fertility). Moreover, such a result would not only define an economical saving for farmers, but would also affect environment, reducing the amount of crop and agricultural lands intended to provide feedstuff and minimizing methane emission from livestock itself.

Aim of this research project is to improve FE in dairy ruminants throughout an integrated approach that includes technologies able to develop nutritional systems.

Experimental trials will be set up on dairy cows and heifers at CZDS in Lodi, within the frame of a larger project aimed to optimize the preparation and distribution of TMR, Project PLUS (Precision Livestock Unifeed System, Regione Lombardia Linea Ricerca e Sviluppo per aggregazioni n. 145923 responsabile UNIMI dr. Francesco Tangorra). In collaboration with other Institutions, data will also be used to study alternative selective approaches involving genomics. Data collection on feed and water intake will be performed using RIC (Roughage Intake Control) system. Residual feed intake (RFI) – defined as the difference between the animal actual FI and its expected FI based on size, growth, body condition score (BCS), milk production and milk characteristics data – will also be calculated. Since FI and FE involve a complex of biological pathways influenced by the interactions with the environment, feeding patterns of each animal will also be monitored throughout the entire length of the trials.

Fig. 1 – Dietary strategies, TMR distribution technologies and genomics can all be used to improve feed efficiency

Fig. 2 – RIC system will be exploited to collect feed intake, water intake and feeding pattern data