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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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Recently, among the different dietary fatty acids (FAs), considerable attention has been given to palmitic acid (C16:0) because of its potential to increase milkfat concentration and yield. Additionally, C16:0 has consistently increased feed efficiency compared with diets not supplemented with fats and other options of FA supplements.

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Successfully implementing a robotic milking system starts with a clear understanding of the impact and demand on the nutrition program. While robotic systems can be the solution to many challenges on the dairy, they are not without challenges of their own.

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Dairy farmers are interested in producing higher levels of milk solids, as milk is valued or priced based on milkfat, true protein (does not include milk urea nitrogen contributions) and other solids (lactose and minerals). Several considerations to improve milk components be discussed in this column.

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Part of a nutritionist’s job is to give recommendations for the target level of refusals needed for maximum profitability. A typical goal is 2 to 5 percent, but this varies a lot from farm to farm, with a few farms even having a goal of zero refusals.

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Similar to a crime scene investigation unit, nutritionists often seek out evidence pointing toward a causative factor when troubleshooting. In some cases, the herd symptoms and challenges are odd, and contributing factors are not very easy to sort through even for well-seasoned consultants.

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Managers and owners often have the tough decision of weighing what expenses must be reduced, while still increasing profit and, above all, how to be most efficient.

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