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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

“I want to plant more alfalfa so I don’t have to fertilize as much.” If I had a nickel for every time I have heard that, I would have a lot of nickels! That statement might apply to nitrogen fertilization of alfalfa, but all other nutrients need to be applied depending on soil and/or tissue levels.

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Looking back to the 2019 forage year, it was a disaster for some dairy farms and a challenge for most. It was almost a perfect storm; several factors that could go wrong happened somewhere.

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Corn silage is the go-to homegrown forage for supplying digestible starch and fibre high-producing cows require. Often, however, shortcuts and oversights during the growing, harvest and storage processes can limit its resulting feed value.

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Over recent years, a whole category of additive products have exploded in dairy cow (and other food animal species) nutrition. Microorganism-based products such as yeasts, bacteria, fungi, enzyme products, etc., have become standards in dairy nutrition and are commonly found in a significant number of diets.

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Coming off a couple of years of adequate to excessive rainfall throughout many dairy forage growing regions across the country, feed hygiene is an increasingly scrutinized forage quality item.

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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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