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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

In another installment of Penn State Extension’s Dairy Grazing Management Guide webinar series, University of New Hampshire professor, extension educator and veterinarian Andre Brito discussed the growing popularity of supplementing kelp to cows in pasture-based systems, both organic and conventional.

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Pasture is the primary source of forage for grazing dairies. In the northern U.S., this requirement is typically met by a May-to-October grazing season, and profitability depends on pastures that provide a uniform, season-long supply of high-quality forage. However, in the northern U.S., seasonal variation in temperature and precipitation creates a challenge, as the predominant forage plants, which include perennial grasses such as Kentucky bluegrass and smooth bromegrass, and legumes such as white clover, undergo a “summer slump” in production.

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In times of low milk prices, there is a need to reduce feed costs, and one way is to feed more homegrown forages. In order to feed a higher inclusion rate of forages, they need to be highly digestible, and this starts with seed selection.

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Key performance indicators, such as milk urea nitrogen, ration nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) levels, corn stalk nitrate testing, and soil fertility assessments are only useful if we know what to strive for.

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Sorghum, mainly a crop of the deep south, is being planted on more acres across the northeast. Originally relegated as an emergency summer feed when earlier crops had failed, or for part-time livestock farms, the crop is going mainstream because of the number of economic and practical advantages it offers.

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Recent research at Miner Institute has focused on the relationship between undigested and physically effective NDF (abbreviated as uNDF and peNDF).

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