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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

Forages are the backbone of dairy rations on most farms. Forages impact dry matter intake (undigested neutral detergent fiber or uNDF), rate of passage (particle size), rumen environment (stable rumen pH) and economic feed programs (reducing the need for purchased grain and protein supplements).

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While beet pulp is well-known for being an energy concentrate that cows love, feed beets have yet to be discovered in a big way.

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Milkfat and protein yield are the major contributors to the price producers receive for milk in most Federal Milk Market Orders. This underlines the importance of focusing on increasing the yield of milkfat and protein and not milk yield per se in order to maximize milk price and income.

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Incorporating soybeans and their byproducts into dairy cattle rations is a fairly common practice. Soybeans are an excellent source of essential amino acids and complement most forages, but they do have some limitations.

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Interest in feed additives will continue and be influenced by new research results, advertising and profit margins. When milk prices drop, dairy farmers may pull feed additives out to reduce feed costs.

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A hands-on approach to nutrition helped this dairy realize its full potential when it comes to milk production and animal health.

“Since switching to Cargill, it’s like we have a second pair of eyes and hands on the dairy. The regular walk throughs, manure screenings, shaker box readings, and data analysis from the Cargill team has given our dairy more information than we ever had before,” explains Parker Byington who is the part owner and manager of Heritage Hills Dairy in Southeast Minnesota. On the dairy, Parker uses expertise from the Cargill team and utilizes Cargill feed in his pre-fresh and lactating diets.

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