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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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Every March, the madness begins. Avid college basketball fans will recognize the reference as more than 130 men’s and women’s Division 1 college basketball teams vie for the championship trophies, knowing full well that for all but two teams, their final game of the season will be a loss.

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Trace minerals are one of the smallest components in a cow’s diet, but they are essential nutrients for animal health and productivity (Table 1).

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In many parts of the U.S., small-grain forages are increasing in popularity and can make excellent feed for milk cow rations when harvested at the correct stage of maturity and put up at proper moisture levels.

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Forages are the backbone of dairy rations on most farms. Forages impact dry matter intake (undigested neutral detergent fiber or uNDF), rate of passage (particle size), rumen environment (stable rumen pH) and economic feed programs (reducing the need for purchased grain and protein supplements).

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While beet pulp is well-known for being an energy concentrate that cows love, feed beets have yet to be discovered in a big way.

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Milkfat and protein yield are the major contributors to the price producers receive for milk in most Federal Milk Market Orders. This underlines the importance of focusing on increasing the yield of milkfat and protein and not milk yield per se in order to maximize milk price and income.

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