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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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“Baling dry hay in the last 10 years has meant getting maybe 50 percent of the crop with little to no rain, but 50 percent with significant rain and long lay times – up to three weeks – if waiting for dry hay,” says Ryan Sommerfield of Medstead, Saskatchewan.

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Carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen – known colloquially as CHON – are the four elements that form the building blocks of all life. Without CHON, fundamental elements such as water, protein and even DNA simply would not exist.

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There is a certain appeal in feeding long dry hay to dairy cows, especially because the cows seem to gravitate to this type of forage, but is this the best way to feed dairy cows?

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Carbohydrates are the major component of every lactating cow diet, making up approximately 70% of the total ration, with around 30% of these carbohydrates taking the form of starch. When formulating and feeding lactating diets, we rely on starch to support the energy demands for milk production.

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It is a balancing act when it comes to feeding protein. Dairy cows do not have a requirement for crude protein – instead, they require amino acids, the building blocks of protein. The main sources of amino acids are:

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Kilograms of milkfat and milk protein shipped, also known as milk component yield (MCY), accounts for a large portion of the milk cheque.

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