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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

Quality silage is a critical component for many dairy operations. The industry has long recognized how valuable high-quality forage, in general, is in the diet of dairy animals, particularly lactating cows.

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Reason 1: Cows are naturally adapted to high-sugar diets. High-starch diets (greater than 28 percent) or high starch fermentability may depress ruminal fiber digestion, but high-sugar diets (6.5 to 8.5 percent) do not.

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As an industry there has rightly been a tremendous focus on the pre-fresh, post-fresh and on the first 90 days of lactation. This critical time period sets the pace for the whole lactation, and as a result, we’ve made significant improvements in fresh cow management, welfare, nutrition and performance, all of which combined have pushed peak milk to new heights.

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Due to greater reproductive efficiency, gendered semen and improvements in heifer rearing, heifers make up a larger proportion of our milking herds today. As a result, the milking herd could see better performance if its heifers are well grown and “ready to get to work” when they freshen.

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Last year, overall harvested forage acres were significantly reduced throughout the Midwest, according to Progressive Forage, leaving forage inventories lower than usual in 2018. As we look to this year’s alfalfa harvest, it may be more critical than ever to do the little things right to ensure you harvest as much dry matter (DM) per acre as possible.

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When we think of palm trees, we usually think of sandy beaches and coconuts. Though fig- or coconut-bearing palm trees are generally the most recognizable, I am talking about the African oil palm (Elaeis guineensis), one of the most important commodity crops in Malaysia and Indonesia.

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