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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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When a crop is harvested to be ensiled, it’s a race against time to minimize losses and preserve a majority of dry matter and nutrients in the form of digestible fibre, protein and energy. In order to have a successful preservation, there needs to be an absence of oxygen in the forage mass, along with sufficient production of organic (lactic) acids by lactic acid bacteria population.

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Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to work with and provide technical support to numerous dairies in the U.S. and internationally. One of the most common questions asked pertains to feeding fats, fat sources and the hoped-for effects on milk volume, components and reproduction.

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Mycotoxins are a regular concern for producers, as they influence feed quality and animal safety. They are produced by certain species of moulds and can have toxic properties that impact ruminant health and performance.

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How we observe cow behaviour at the feedbunk can also really make a difference in what we see. We can walk the feed alleys and look at the many reports generated by advancing technology, such as activity, rumination and feed tracking systems.

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Trace minerals continue to be studied and explored in dairy cattle nutrition. Trace minerals do not immediately impact milk yield such as increasing amino acids, added fats and oils, or improved fibre digestibility.

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2017 will go down in the books for its unique rainfall pattern. As a whole, most farmers in Ontario experienced a wet spring. Come summer, the tap turned off in some areas, and the sink overflowed in others.

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