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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

Dairy farmers are interested in producing higher levels of milk solids, as most U.S. markets are valued or priced based on pounds of milkfat, pounds of true protein (does not include milk urea nitrogen contributions) and other solids (lactose and minerals).

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Optimizing milk efficiency and component yield are essential to ensuring a farm’s overall profitability.

Progressive Dairyman Editor Audrey Schmitz asked Brian Lammers, dairy nutritionist for Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM), to share his insights on how to best build rations for cows to maximize milk efficiency, milkfat and protein production.

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Most dairy research tends to focus on protein and energy needs, and trace minerals are often overlooked. Yet when we fail to consider the role of trace minerals, problems can arise, including interferences or interactions with minerals in feed and water.

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Decades of research and production have proven reproduction and nutrition in the dairy cow are absolutely connected. There is no silver bullet and no management program that will offset the effects of compromised nutrition on dairy cow reproductive performance.

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If we apply the standards of evidence-based medicine to prepartum dairy cows, all close-up cows would be fed a negative DCAD diet. More than 30 years of research, and on-farm application, have repeatedly proven negative DCAD diets work.

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How cows are fed and managed through the transition period (generally accepted as the three weeks before and after calving) can determine how healthy, productive and profitable cows can be.

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