Dairy Cow Challenges



Feed Efficiency

Feed is the largest single production expense on dairy farms. Efficient conversion of either grown or purchased feed nutrients directly affects the profitability of your operation. Good feed efficiency is not just economically important, but is also a good indicator of nutritional management on your farm.

Globally, forage makes up the major portion of ruminant diets. During the conversion of fresh forage to silage, proteolysis (enzymatic breakdown of protein) naturally occurs, leading to a loss of True Protein (bound amino acids). Numerous studies have found that feeding ruminants silage with a higher True Protein content increased production (more milk / liveweight gain) more than feeding silage with a lower True Protein content - even though the total Crude Protein content of the diets were similar. The amount of True Protein lost in the ensiling process can be significantly reduced by using tools to speed up the rate of acidification and pH drop in the silage.

Forage is the least expensive on-farm source of feed for ruminants. Good quality forage contains nutrients that are highly digestible and available to the animal, however, forages contain high levels of both oxygen and fiber. Producers should choose a yeast strain that is proven to utilize oxygen, and also to stimulate fiber digesting bacteria. The strain should also stimulate lactic acid-utilizing bacteria, to maintain pH balance and minimize acidity in the rumen.

Dairy Cow Challenges