The regulation of rumen fermentation and motility are described to provide a framework within which the opportunities and problems of intensified ruminant nutrition can be considered. The ruminant animal maintains favourable conditions for microbial growth in its rumen and in turn is nourished by the products of fermentation. The fermenting food needs to be masticated, fluidised, buffered, mixed, kept at an even temperature and propelled onward down the gut to be absorbed. Rumen movements are appropriately controlled by a combination of central and local mechanisms.
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