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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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As corn prices hovered near $3.50 per bushel, feed cost per cow per day increased over 80 cents per 100 pounds, while record milk prices occurred in July 2007. In 2007-2008, milk price will need to increase $1 per hundredweight to cover higher corn grain, hay, cottonseed and silage costs.

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Water is one of the most basic, yet important things we can supply for our cows. Despite the central role that water plays in mammalian physiology, we tend to take it for granted.

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The science behind building a ration that optimizes milk production and improves herd health is highly coveted. To formulate a performance-focused diet, nutritionists depend on quality feed ingredients as the basis for ration development.

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Do extra vitamins help? Today there are fewer cows producing more milk. Cows have become more efficient.

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Feeding straw to dry dairy cows has become a popular strategy to decrease dietary energy content and increase the bulk fill of the ration. The key reasons for doing this are to maintain pre-calving dry matter intake and to keep the rumen expanded to avoid a displaced abomasum post-calving.

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If we’re going to manage the dairy cow for optimum productivity and health, we cannot ignore the rumen. It is the center of all functions inside the cow. But keeping this vital organ working at peak efficiency is a delicate balancing act.

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