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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 a dairy producer, ensuring your calves have the best start to life begins before the calf is born. The care and nutrition you provide the cow while its calf is in utero can set that calf up for life.

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• Corn silage should be harvested at 35 percent dry matter (65 percent moisture) and one-half to three-fourths milk line. When results from numerous studies were combined and analyzed, harvesting corn silage at 40 percent dry matter or higher resulted in decreased milk yields of 4.4 pounds of milk per cow per day.

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In 2007, my career path was somewhat redirected after working with a high-profile dairy herd’s health and performance challenge.

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Give whole milk a boost to give calves the balanced nutrition they need.

Milk: It’s “nature’s most perfect food,” or at least that’s what we’ve been told as long as humans have been feeding domesticated dairy calves.

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The ideal pre-fresh period is 21 days. Too much corn silage makes heifers fat. Excess dietary salt causes udder edema. The younger the age at first calving, the better.

These are just a few things we’ve been told about pre-fresh heifers, but are they facts or fallacies?

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Fiber is a key component of the ruminant diet and can frequently account for over 50 percent dry matter intake through the inclusion of silage, hay and fibrous co-products.

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