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Peruse practical information for the dairy producer on essential topics including management, A.I. and breeding, new technology, and feed and nutrition.

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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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Although some dairy herds do have excellent reproductive performance, the average Canadian herd is still showing unsatisfactory performance with an insemination rate of 44.1 percent, pregnancy rate of 17.6 percent and conception rate of 40.5 percent; those performances were shown to be similar in other countries.

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