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0107 EL: Consistent Feeding

Dr. Lawson Spicer Published on 31 December 2006

Cows look forward to eating every day. Do you look forward to having all the feed ingredients available to put into a mix and feed the cows each day?

This article is a tribute to Art DeVries. He worked in Southern California in the dairy feed industry. Art liked the people he worked with. One of his goals was to make sure the right product and the right amount of product could be found when you went to mix the feed and feed the cows.

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Why is it important to have a consistent amount of a feed ingredient available to mix and feed to the cows? One is you can mix the right amount of all the ingredients. The cows consistently get the same mix every day. You, as a feeder, don’t want to make substitutions of one feed ingredient for another. Also the mix with the right amount of ingredients is more nutritionally balanced.

Each feed ingredient should be used at a specified level. For example, minerals are fed at a specific level. When too high a level of a mineral is fed, it can increase the feed cost. Also, the higher amount of a mineral may interfere with the function of another mineral.

The importance of the right amount of an ingredient is illustrated in the following situation. One day I visited a dairy and observed the butterfat percent in the milk was low, 3.1 percent. I asked the feeder what was going on. The problem was he was feeding more rolled corn than the mix called for.

Try to mix and feed the right amount of a feed ingredient in the mix to achieve the optimum cost, have a nutritionally balanced and consistent mix for the cows. EL

Dr. Lawson Spicer is a independent nutritionist and can be reached at

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