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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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Corn silage and alfalfa haylage are great forage sources for dairy cattle. However, there are other forage alternatives available to dairy producers. Increasing the variety of forages grown on a farm can decrease the impact of diseases, pests and climatic changes on a farm’s forage supply.

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Nutrition models often don’t result in the performance expected when they are put into use on the dairy, said Jim Tully of Pine Creek Nutrition Services during the Penn State 2016 Dairy Nutrition Workshop.

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Heat stress is a concern for dairy producers across the U.S. In fact, the Journal of Dairy Science estimates heat stress costs U.S. dairy producers over $1 billion each year.

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Methionine (Met) and lysine (Lys) are the two most studied essential amino acids (AAs) and have been shown to be limiting output of milk protein in dairy cows fed North American rations. Histidine (His) is another of the 10 nutritionally essential AAs that must be provided in sufficient amounts in the diet of lactating cows.

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Much has been said about the importance of maintaining adequate levels of effective fiber in lactating dairy rations to support normal chewing behavior and rumen function and maximize dry matter intake and milk production.

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What is a reasonable value to place on your forage inventory?

A dairy producer recently pointed out the value of his stored forages each year is worth more than the cost to build another freestall barn.

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