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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

The 2017 growing season was challenging across the U.S. Growers in different regions experienced varied weather conditions that could not only reduce yield, but could also increase plant stress and lead to challenges with mycotoxins.

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As many hay producers and operators know, one of the most challenging aspects of baling hay is determining its quality and relative feed value (RFV). The feed value of hay crops like alfalfa can vary tremendously, making it difficult to determine the amount of hay needed in a balanced ration to be fed to livestock.

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When milk prices are low and the dairy economy gets tough, we all look for ways to cut costs. The feed ration is often one of the first places we turn.

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I recently saw a very odd thing when I observed a farm adviser balance a ration for some replacement heifers. Based on the analyses of the forage and the trace mineral mixture and his estimate of feed consumption, his spreadsheet showed that magnesium intake would only be 6.7 grams per day.

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An ideal bedding for dairy cows is clean, provides a certain degree of cow comfort and doesn’t readily support bacterial growth. Sand fits that bill to a tee. Sand-laden manure, however, is the less attractive side of the deal.

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The dairy industry continues to change as herd size relative to crop acres increases. This creates a need for more off-farm corn silage to be purchased and more manure to be exported off-farm.

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