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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 summer months get closer and temperatures begin to ramp up, dairy producers from all over the world start to think of strategies to minimize the effects of heat stress on their farming operation.

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Milk weights, calving intervals, pregnancy rates: Metrics are everywhere on a dairy. But, unlike other aspects of dairy management, there is no clear way to evaluate a cow’s immune function. Yet, a strong immune system is vital for dairy health and performance. Without it, pathogens win.

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Cows need protein but do not have a requirement for protein, per se. Instead, they require amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein.

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There are several dairy feeding programs being utilized by dairies around the world. Some of the more popular include EZ Feed, Feedwatch, TMR Tracker and One Feed. Regardless of which program a dairy uses, the important thing is to be able to get concise usable information from it to help manage the biggest dairy expense and cornerstone to milk production level: feed.

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Today’s dairy farms typically feed a large amount of fermented forages and processed feeds which contain little sugar. Because of this, lactating dairy rations usually contain about 1.5% to 3% sugar, if no supplemental sugar is fed.

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Dry matter (DM) can be defined as the remaining portion of a forage or feed after moisture has been removed by forced drying. DM determination is commonly performed in the laboratory, but because it is a very important parameter when making silages, hays, haylage and balancing livestock diets, it is also a common practice on dairy farms.

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