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Feed & Nutrition

Learn about all aspects of the dairy cow ration, from harvest to storage and balancing additives to forage supplementation.

LATEST

Most dairy feeding studies are conducted in midlactation, providing vital information regarding the nutritional needs of cows. Since 2000, 28 such feeding experiments have been conducted evaluating canola meal as an ingredient for dairy cows (Canola Meal Dairy Feeding Guide, 2019).

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Change is hard – especially for cows, who are creatures of habit even more than we are. Any changes in a cow’s routine can quickly add up to compromise her health and performance. Some of these changes are out of our control, but the more consistency we can build into a cow’s diet and routine, the more she has the resiliency to deal with unforeseen changes.

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When it comes to feed ingredients, few can compete with whole cottonseed for lactating dairy cattle. As a triple nutrient feedstuff containing protein, high energy and high fiber, cottonseed is proven to support milk production and boost butterfat. To maximize these nutritional benefits, it’s important to store and handle cottonseed properly.

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Why are fat supplements fed? Because in early lactation, cows cannot eat enough to meet their increasing milk production energy requirements. Thus, cows go into negative energy balance. This is an issue for especially the first one-third of a lactation. And, this negative energy balance is more pronounced and for a longer period of time for cows beyond their first lactation. Consequently, fat supplements are used to increase energy density of the ration. But, if a fat supplement decreases dry matter intake (DMI), the benefit of using it is decreased.

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We hardly even think about vitamin D anymore. It’s one of those vitamins we routinely add to feeds, an inscrutable listing of international units (IUs) on the feed tag. And as for our children, we simply irradiate the milk.

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Last fall was particularly difficult for forage harvesting and post-harvest management. Weather impacts have created major problems for forage management; among these challenges, mycotoxins can be a costly and sometimes hidden risk.

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