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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

Packing, preserving and properly feeding from the bunk silo relies on feeder knowledge of the chemistry behind the crop. That was the basic premise behind the two-day “Feeder Schools” held by Cornell Cooperative Extension last fall and hosted by dairy farms in different regions of New York.

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The term "de novo fatty acids" has been popping up a lot recently thanks to emerging research on the fatty acid profile of milk, and specifically the level of de novo fatty acids within the profile. Some co-ops and Dairy Herd Improvement Association labs have started reporting these numbers on a routine basis; however, many dairy farmers are wondering what exactly de novo fatty acids are and why they should care about looking at them.

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Ask dairy producers and nutritionists whether the source of dietary protein makes a difference in performance and the answer is a resounding “Yes!”

But the answer may not be as emphatic when you ask about sources of supplemental dietary fat and fatty acids, even though the response should be the same. The source of dietary fat makes a difference in animal performance, just as it does for protein sources. It’s a question of digestibility, bioavailability and more.

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Significant advances in dry cow nutrition have been made in the last 20 years. Most recently, interest has shifted to the protein needs of transition cows.

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When milk prices and dairy profit margins are good, such as 2014, we sometimes get comfortable with production and on-farm efficiency. With today’s low milk prices and rising feed protein prices, now is the time to fine-tune rations to enhance microbial growth in the rumen.

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Dairy producers should first identify poor feed hygiene contributors in order to best combat their effects.

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