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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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As another growing season approaches, now is a good time to start preparing for a safe silage season. Unfortunately, when most producers are asked what silage and safety mean to them, their answer usually revolves around silage pile or bunker safety.

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With a growing dairy industry comes the need for individual dairies to closely monitor their feed inventories to ensure enough feed is available. This can be a bit of a guessing game, and intakes will greatly influence the rate of consumption.

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A successful breeding program starts with good, early lactation nutritional management. Getting cows off to the best possible start in early lactation is critical on every dairy farm. It is essential to ensure the nutrient intake of the cow is adequate to meet its needs.

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Traditionally, it has been assumed practical diets fed to dairy cattle provide sufficient chromium to meet their requirements. However, research conducted over the past 20 years has shown chromium supplementation of practical diets can increase insulin sensitivity and increase cattle performance and health under certain conditions.

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When diets were balanced for individual amino acids rather than metabolizable protein, net income increased and nitrogen balance decreased, implying an overall better usage of nitrogen on the farm.

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Forage and fibre in the diets of dairy cows is critical for their optimal health and milk production. How the fibre in forages ferments, digests and is metabolized is an ongoing subject of discussion and research.

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