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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

In 2021, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) published the 8th Edition of the Nutrient Requirements of Dairy Cattle (NRC). As with past publications, the NASEM 2021 was developed based upon the foundation of previous editions of the NRC publication and important updates reflecting scientific advances in nutrition and feeding programs for dairy cattle since the last publication in 2001.

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Forages are by weight the main component of dairy cow rations greatly influencing production, profitability and cow well-being. High-quality digestible forages help cows face the challenges derived from the increased nutrient demands of peripartum and lactation.

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Dairy cows have an important role in providing food security for humankind by converting human-inedible food, such as forage and byproducts, to human-edible, high-quality protein, micronutrients and essential fatty acids. However, the importance of dairy cattle to human life is being challenged because of concerns that cattle may have a negative impact on the environment and climate change.

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Most producers understand that minerals must be supplemented to cattle at all stages of production if they want optimal performance, especially in health and reproduction. At the farm level, different formula combinations for minerals in feeds, supplements and premixes are limitless.

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Starch is one of the key components of a dairy ration, oftentimes accounting for 25% to 30% of the daily dry matter intake (DMI). The digestibility and fermentability of starch play important roles in feed economics and dairy cow performance. This article will discuss costs of undigested starch and strategies to cope with undesirable starch digestibility.

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Wrapping dry bales

Traditionally, wrapping large round or square bales in plastic film has been considered mainly for high-moisture silage, or “baleage” bales, but many growers are investigating wrapping dry bales.

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