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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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It’s every dairy producer’s goal: Get more milk out of homegrown forages and spend less on purchased feeds. It sounds so easy but, in reality, getting more milk out of our homegrown forages is accomplished in many small steps rather than giant technological leaps.

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What is the best ration to feed to your dairy cows? An excellent question and one that has confounded dairy producers forever. We tend to focus largely on what is fed to the lactating herd since this is the main revenue source.

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The low milk prices in recent years have motivated many dairy producers to cut back on feed costs. Certainly all producers and nutritionists should be evaluating their rations to make sure they are feeding the most cost-effective ration.

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“My dad taught me that if we take care of the cows, they take care of us,” says Chris Heins, sixth-generation dairy farmer in Lafayette County, Missouri.

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Milk and dairy products made from grass-fed cows are hitting grocery store shelves. Adding a grazing component is not only a consumer-friendly approach, it is also a viable economic one for many dairy farmers today.

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One hundred percent grass-fed milk is a relatively new – or at least re-emerging – focus for dairy farmers in the U.S. Unlike certified organic dairy practices, no grain is allowed to be fed, so these cows make milk from pasture alone.

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