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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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There are several dairy feeding programs being utilized by dairies around the world. Some of the more popular include EZ Feed, Feedwatch, TMR Tracker and One Feed. Regardless of which program a dairy uses, the important thing is to be able to get concise usable information from it to help manage the biggest dairy expense and cornerstone to milk production level: feed.

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Today’s dairy farms typically feed a large amount of fermented forages and processed feeds which contain little sugar. Because of this, lactating dairy rations usually contain about 1.5% to 3% sugar, if no supplemental sugar is fed.

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Dry matter (DM) can be defined as the remaining portion of a forage or feed after moisture has been removed by forced drying. DM determination is commonly performed in the laboratory, but because it is a very important parameter when making silages, hays, haylage and balancing livestock diets, it is also a common practice on dairy farms.

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We take so many things for granted in agriculture we don’t even realize that, once upon a time, these things did not exist. Someone, somewhere, created or discovered each one – and over the years, we’ve tended to forget those achievements.

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Double-cropping with both warm- and cool-season forages in New York can have many benefits, including providing a source of forage yield in the spring that potentially leads to greater total season yields than a monocrop system, increasing rotation diversity, and providing year-round soil cover.

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Plants need nitrogen to grow and produce high-quality crops. How much will be required is difficult to predict with absolute certainty. What we do know is that the soil in crop fields can be a very important source of nitrogen for crop growth.

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