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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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Precision agriculture has focused on optimizing efficiency. For crop production, yields can be obtained from the combine and integrated with soil nutrient data to characterize the response to changes in management strategies (spraying, harvesting, nutrient application, irrigation, etc.). Currently the highest resolution for yield, for the majority of farms raising alfalfa in Kentucky, is based upon the field level of data. Specifically, most farmers could specify the bales per field.

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What’s in the box?

Forrest Gump’s momma always said, “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.” In a way, feeding cows is the same. You never really know the true composition of the feeds and diet that make it to the bunk or what makes it into each cow.

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In the coming years, heat waves may occur more frequently and last longer. Beyond reducing the quality and quantity of forage, high temperatures and humidity also affect productivity and reproductive performance of livestock.

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In the world of dairy nutrition, new recommendations are continually being made. An important area of focus in which new advances are being made is dry cow nutrition, especially the close-up dry cow period, as it is a crucial time.

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The transition period is the most critical period for a successful lactation. Many factors play a crucial role in the success of this period, such as comfort and ventilation, the overall health of the animals, the quality of the feed served, as well as the feeding strategy used.

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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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