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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

Selection of corn hybrids for silage production is confusing at best. It used to be so much easier. We simply chose the hybrid with the highest grain-yield for both grain and silage. However, we now know that other important factors affect farm profitability.

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A fundamental rule regarding diet formulation is that one never knows the true value of anything. Although we have reasonably accurate estimates of the average requirements for most nutrients, we have less certainty regarding nutrient requirements of a specific herd or animal under specific circumstances.

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With forage and commodity storage areas full, feed analysis complete and rations built, the foundation of your nutrition program for the next year is nearly set. Now it’s time to focus on your feeding program to make sure the ration outlined on paper makes it to the cow’s rumen.

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Taller is better when Lawson Spicer formulates a close-up ration for Skyward Dairy.“We want a pretty bulky ration,” says Spicer, a nutritionist based in Claremont, California.

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It is now recognized that defining and meeting the nutritional requirements of the dry cow can greatly impact animal health, production in the ensuing lactation, overall longevity and animal well-being. Nutrition and management during the dry period are essential in determining the profitability of the cow for the rest of her lactation.

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Feed efficiency may be called milk production efficiency or dairy efficiency, but all these refer to the same thing: How efficiently a dairy cow converts feed to milk. Far more important than the name is how this efficiency can affect a dairy’s bottom line.

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