Adequate ration balancing is a crucial component of a dairy farm budget. Undetected nutrient deficiencies or excesses can have different and variable effects on cows’ performance and health. Nowadays more feed ingredients are available to be included in dairy diets.
With feed comprising the largest operating expense, nutrient composition of feed ingredients and feeding strategies are the key profit drivers in modern dairy farms. The DKC’s Feed Library publishes recent research on the main feeds included in dairy cattle diets.
LATEST ARTICLES IN THE FEED LIBRARY
Faba beans (Vicia faba) is a grain legume that may be considered as dual-purpose feed for protein and starch contents. Due to its high protein (28 – 32% dry matter; DM) and starch contents (40% DM), faba beans can replace both protein meals and cereal grains in dairy cow diets.
Berry fruits contain vitamins (C, E, folic acid) and other biologically active substances such as tannins, saponins, flavonoids, phenolic acids… that may be beneficial for ruminants. These substances can potentially stimulate the microbial metabolism in the rumen and improve fermentation of nutrients.
Whey is a coproduct of the cheese or casein manufacture used as an animal feed supplement. Despite its high energy density, its usage is limited in high production cows due to the low protein content in proportion to the salt and lactose content.
Flax is a cool climate crop grown mainly for production of fiber and food. Its seed, linseed, is rich in oil which contains more than 50% of the essential fatty acid alfa-linolenic acid (omega-3). Linolenic acid is converted into eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid, precursors of eicosanoids such as prostaglandins.
There are a wide variety of forage crops used in the United States for dairy farms. One of the most common is oat as it provides the benefit of diversifying crop rotation. In fact, over 1.3 million hectares of oat were planted in the United States with over 60 percent of the output used for forage.