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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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On any given day, the typical dairyman loses count of the challenges he deals with. From labor, to mechanical issues, to sick or downed cows and paying the feed bill, the list goes on, seemingly forever.

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One of the most frequent questions I hear regarding drought-stressed forages is in reference to harvest time. When should I harvest? This is good because it’s probably the most important question you should be asking.

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Get ready: corn silage in 2017 is not going to be typical corn silage. Illinois growing and harvesting conditions may reflect your situation and corn silage quality. Test, test and retest will be a common theme.

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It is widely acknowledged dairy cattle must be fed nutritionally balanced rations to deliver absorbable protein with appropriate balances of specific amino acids (AAs) to the small intestine. However, the required levels of these AAs remain unclear.

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Meeting the nutrient requirements of a high-producing dairy cow without disrupting the rumen environment can be challenging. Starch is a key energy source but can also lead to acidosis if it is overfed.

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Dairy steers are an important source of beef production in the U.S. Since Holstein is the dominant dairy breed, emphasis is placed on finishing Holstein steers. “Dairy beef” refers to any dairy herd progeny developed to be ruminating cattle and harvested at an age that qualifies them for the USDA Prime, Choice or Select quality grades. Beef cattle breeds are referred to as “native” breeds.

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