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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.

LATEST

The cost of feed is by far the main expense for a dairy operation, representing around half of the cost to produce milk on a dairy. The reduction in forage supply and quality over the last six months and lower milk prices we are now experiencing are making dairy profitability even harder.

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As farms have implemented robotic milking into their operations, the perceived challenge of feeding robotic herds has grown. Many farms that have implemented robotic milking or automated milking systems (AMS) have also embraced the idea of free cow traffic in which the cow is free to do as it pleases in the barn on its own schedule.

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Planning and managing forage inventory on the dairy can sometimes feel like playing Tetris. Like Tetris, we see things begin to pile up or disappear faster than our feed centre is prepared for, with consequences more financially weighty than a fistful of coins at the arcade.

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Selecting the right ingredients to optimize milk production may mean being open to a wider range of choices. There are actually many vegetable protein sources available for feed use.

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Throughout the summer, many dairy consultants have seen farm teams challenged by aerobically unstable 2019 ensiled forages and high-moisture grains, which were grown under several levels of stress.

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The 2020 corn production season has gotten off to a relatively “normal” start. Timely planting occurred – a welcome change compared to the previous three seasons, when colder and wetter conditions influenced planting progress.

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