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Dairy Feed

Reducing the Energy Gap

Getting your cows and heifers out of negative energy balance sooner and getting them gaining weight earlier is the key to improved conception rates. A large-scale study of over 1887 Holstein dairy cows by Professor Paul Fricke of Wisconsin University, looked at the effect changes in liveweight on conception rate to first service.

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Can we manipulate persistency?

During late gestation and early lactation, the mammary gland produces large numbers of secretory cells with the ability to secrete milk.
This is done in response to changes in circulating hormones and growth factors. The demise of the secretory capability of the mammary gland during mid to late lactation is unavoidable in the pregnant cow and ends with the process of involution when the cow is dried off. The rate of decline is known as persistency.

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Multi Cut Does Not Lead to Consistent Silage

There has been a big push in recent years to cut grass for silage at shorter intervals (typically 28 days), to maximise energy and protein yield. The principal definitely leads to better silage quality, reducing bought in feed costs per litre of milk produced. This system has been made much easier with the availability of high capacity harvesting equipment to cover vast areas in a short space of time, making the most of available weather windows. That said, this system does not always lead to consistent silage at feed out and if not well managed, actually creates more problems than it solves.

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TMR Audits – why bother?

So, what is a TMR audit you ask? Well, it’s an on-farm service whereby a specialist will assess the full feeding system on farm, from feed store to feed out. Its purpose is to help farmers discover which elements of their feeding regime are holding them back and how to rectify them. Inconsistent TMR can influence herd health, productivity and efficiency. TMR audits dramatically help to improve efficiencies across the farm.

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Starch Means Nothing

Starch levels are often seen as a measure of milk potential and rumen stability in diets, thus used as a benchmark when formulating diets.
In reality, starch levels in diets do not matter, because in isolation they don't tell you a great deal. Starch is only one of four energy sources to the rumen and furthermore, the degradability of starch sources greatly influences rumen dynamics.

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Dietary consistency will help to optimise milk production

Maintaining a consistent diet for milking cows should be the main objective day-to-day, yet, for several reasons this is often not achieved.
Many farmers and dairy specialists concentrate on increasing the cows dry matter (DM) intake. Whilst maximising DM intake is important, it requires much more than simply dumping a ration of essential nutrient in front of the cows. Providing a consistent diet in terms of nutrients and structure promotes stable intakes and maintains good rumen health.

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