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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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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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Most dairy feeding studies are conducted in mid-lactation, providing vital information regarding the nutritional needs of cows. Since 2000, 28 such feeding experiments have been conducted evaluating canola meal as an ingredient for dairy cows.

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Plastic recycling is an issue that concerns consumers in almost every industry, and agriculture is no different.

A study released in 2011 found that Ontario farmers use nearly 7,000 tonnes of plastic as part of their yearly operations.

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