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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

While the total neutral detergent fibre content (NDF on a DM basis) of a forage crop is a major factor in defining the overall maturity at cutting, it’s by no means the last word in understanding the digestibility of this fibre fraction when eaten by the dairy cow or replacement heifer.

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Amino acids (AA), essential nutrients for dairy cows, cannot be considered optional feed additives. When AA levels in the ration are properly balanced, milk production, the cow’s reproduction and health each benefit.

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Feed prices for the last five years have been at historic highs. The ability of ruminants to convert lower-digestibility feedstuffs (forages and other high-fibre feeds) into edible products has always been a positive attribute and one that has historically allowed the use of lower-cost feedstuffs, often byproducts which would be wasted otherwise.

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Corn silage is one of the most important forages used for livestock. With the high cost of feed today, managing silage quality has never been more important.

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With the cost of fertiliser today, thinking about fertilising those hay stands should be a priority (Figure 1).

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Hay growers have traditionally been advised not to harvest alfalfa when the cutting is likely to take place four to six weeks before the first killing frost.

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