Feeding total mixed rations
Proper nutrition leads to healthy and high-performing dairy cows. Here are a couple things cow rations must contain:
- Good quality forages
- A balance of grains and protein sources
These feed sources provide nutrients needed for milk production, growth and reproduction. You must balance the nutrients in a ration to avoid excesses or deficiencies. Balancing rations to meet your cows’ nutrient needs can optimize feed digestion and use.
Good feeding management practices must be followed to achieve maximum performance from cows. First, monitor forage and feed inventory on a regular basis and allocate to the appropriate animal group. Second, test forages and feeds several times throughout the year or when any noticeable change occurs. Lastly, update ration formulations based on milk production, milk fat and milk protein percent, current body weight and body condition scores, moisture changes in forages or high moisture feed ingredients, and prices of current feeds. Checking forage moisture on a frequent basis is critical to implementing a successful TMR system.
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