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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.

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Despite the conditions we may currently see when we look outside, spring is here! As temperatures begin to rise and snow begins to melt, we need to keep watch for changes in our stored forages. As many will remember, the corn silage harvest last fall brought with it plenty of challenges. Most dairies have not yet experienced any of the issues that are expected to arise in their silage piles thanks to those harvest challenges — but spring will change that. As temperatures increase, wild yeast will begin to awaken in silages, leading to a decrease in forage stability, as well as the potential for issues with the total mixed ration (TMR) fed to livestock.

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Many dairy producers are facing a critical forage shortage to feed their herds. Forage stands were damaged across Ohio this past winter, and the wet spring has further deteriorated the few stands that initially appeared they might recover from winter damage.

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A co-worker raised interesting questions: As dairy farms consolidate (fewer dairy farms with more cows on each farm), what changes in forage production need to be considered?

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How many times over the past year have you and your nutritionist had a conversation about reducing ration costs? If you’re like most producers, you’re looking for every possible way to squeeze dollars from your monthly feed bill.

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When was the last time you experienced “the best of both worlds”? As a figure of speech, you simply enjoyed the advantages of two very different things or situations at the same time.

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Recently, among the different dietary fatty acids (FAs), considerable attention has been given to palmitic acid (C16:0) because of its potential to increase milkfat concentration and yield. Additionally, C16:0 has consistently increased feed efficiency compared with diets not supplemented with fats and other options of FA supplements.

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