To get the most from the forage that goes into your dairy herd, evaluate what comes out. It could net you “free milk,” said Mike Hutjens, University of Illinois emeritus dairy nutritionist, at the 2012 Four-State Dairy Nutrition and Management Conference in Dubuque, IA.
Although manure tests aren’t always clear-cut and most are downright messy, they can show how effective feeding programs are, he said. Here are ones he recommends:
Fecal Starch Analysis...More
The John Deere HarvestLab now not only measures dry matter content, but also provides crude protein, starch and fiber near-infrared analysis of corn silage, says Steve Siegel, John Deere Intelligent Solutions Group product manager....More
A $70,000 software system mounted in a loader bucket analyzes feeds and calculates for dry matter adjustments at the TMR mixer. It should pay for itself in a year, figures Steve Brand, who milks 900 Holsteins with his wife, Mary, near Ellsworth, WI.
Brand is the first in his state to buy the dg Precision Feeding System, manufactured by the Italian company, Dinamica Generale. The system uses near-infrared reflectance spectroscopy to measure a feed’s real-time dry matter and nutrient contents.
He had a couple of reasons for doing so....More
A forage tester that can be taken to the field to quickly measure forage dry matter content and nutrient levels is getting high marks for its accuracy, says a University of Wisconsin dairy scientist....More
“It’s taller, the leaves are wider and the stalks are bigger around.”
Jerry Fraim, Caneyville, KY, is describing silage corn that had been treated with a plant growth regulator early in the growing season....More
An increasing number of dairy producers want their nutritionists to balance budgets as well as rations. They want “Jacks of all trades” who offer financial, managerial and herd-health advice as well as feed-bunk and silage management education....More
Corn stover treated with hydrated or pickling lime can replace grain in beef-cattle feed and may also – to a lesser extent – replace a portion of forage in dairy-cow diets, according to new research....More
Feeding high proportions of low-fat dried distillers grain solubles (DDGS) increases dry matter intake with no risk of fat depression, and adding rumen-inert fat increases fat-corrected milk production.
University of Nebraska researchers reported that finding after comparing the effects of feeding conventional and low-fat DDGS. They fed a control diet with no DDGS, a second with 30% DDGS, a third with 30% low-fat DDGS and one with 30% low-fat DDGS plus rumen-inert fat. Twenty Holstein cows consumed each diet for 21 days....More
Cattle, sheep and other ruminants have the unique ability to digest cellulose, the main component in plant cell walls, to produce energy for themselves. This is significant, since cellulose makes up 40-70% of forage....More
Western growers of alfalfa hay, standard corn silage or brown midrib (BMR) corn silage have until Dec. 13 to submit samples for the 2013 World Ag Expo Forage Challenge.
Cash prizes of up to $18,000 will be awarded based on forage-lab analyses and a visual evaluation of entries by dairy nutrition and forage production experts. The contest is presented by Mycogen Seeds and the awards are from Lallemand Animal Nutrition....More
World Dairy Expo attendees can learn of the latest in dairy-forage research during the twice-a-day Dairy Forage Seminars, Oct. 3-5, in the Arena Building at the Alliant Energy Center, Madison, WI.
Below are the topics and who will be speaking:
Wednesday, Oct. 3:...More
A rapid test that precisely measures rumen starch digestibility of feed ingredients is helping nutritionist Will VanNostran reduce his client herds’ ration costs.
He estimates savings from 5¢ to 10¢/cow/day depending on ingredient costs.
The test is part of a service called Calibrate Technologies, from Forage Genetics International. Nutritionists enter test results and ration information onto Calibrate’s online calculator, which assigns a rumen degradable starch score....More
Using molasses as an additive improved the quality and fermentation of bermudagrass silage in a University of Florida study.
Jiggs and Tifton 85 bermudagrass were harvested at four weeks of regrowth and ensiled at 22% dry matter or at 53% dry matter after field drying for four hours. Both were treated with 1 lb of sugarcane molasses per pound of wet forage, or with recommended rates of two commercial inoculants. A control silo was left untreated....More
Mixing hay and grain for young calves didn’t help them adapt to a total mixed ration later in life, University of Guelph, Ontario, researchers report.
Starting at birth and continuing for eight weeks, Holstein bull calves were fed chopped hay and concentrate as a mixture or in separate buckets. They also received milk replacer for the first seven weeks. All calves were fed the mixed diet in weeks nine through 11, then were offered a novel TMR in weeks 12 and 13. The TMR contained haylage, corn silage, high-moisture corn and protein supplement....More
Pregnant heifers can be reared on intensively grazed pastures with no adverse effects on growth or first-lactation milk production, say University of Maryland researchers.
In a two-year study, Holstein heifers rotationally grazed endophyte-infected tall fescue and also were fed 1 lb/day of ground shelled corn with minerals and monensin. They were rotated to new paddocks daily from spring to summer. Their performance was compared with that of heifers fed a conventional TMR of corn and rye silage, grass hay and a monensin-supplemented grain mix....More
Hydroponic forage production requires a lot less water than irrigated alfalfa, and Bill Brandau sees that as its greatest selling point in the Southwest.
“The amount of water used to produce the feed is so much less that to me it makes sense, especially in a drought situation,” says the University of Arizona Extension agent.
Growing forages indoors also erases the land requirement and other hay production costs, but hydroponic equipment is expensive and requires close management, says Brandau....More
Gladtime Dairy doesn’t have any cropland, but wheat straw and a little hay are its only purchased feeds.
Barley sprouts grown indoors provide most of the nutrients for Scot Edwards’ and Bill Underwood’s 100-cow Jersey herd near Pima, AZ. The cows average 30-40 lbs of milk per day at a feed cost ranging from $2.50 to $3/cow, depending on the price of straw, says Edwards....More
While scoring manure piles, producers and nutritionists should check their herds’ locomotion and body-condition scores, said Mike Hutjens, University of Illinois emeritus dairy nutritionist.
Or evaluate cows as they come from the milking parlor, he added....More
Growing normal and brown midrib (BMR) corn hybrids together produced silage with a chemical composition almost comparable to pure BMR silage. When fed to cows the mixture resulted in greater feed efficiency and lower milk MUN than normal silage....More
Proposed dairy reforms stayed intact as the House Ag Committee approved its version of the 2012 Farm Bill, which now moves on for a full House vote, according to the Milk Producers Council (MPC)....More
Trails of dust behind haymaking equipment signal trouble for dairy producers wanting to minimize ash levels in their rations, warns Faith Cullens, Michigan State University Extension dairy educator....More
Changes in dairy-ration formulation and feed management can help prevent reductions in dry matter intake during hot weather, advises Alvaro Garcia, South Dakota State University Extension dairy specialist....More
Forage sorghums can help provide feed in regions short on forage after last year’s droughts, say university agronomists from Pennsylvania and Texas.
Greg Roth urges south-central Pennsylvania dairy producers to consider doublecropping brown midrib (BMR) forage sorghums – after first-cut hay or small-grain silage – on ground some are currently putting to silage corn....More