Bovis ISSN 2398-2993

Feed options for dairy cows

Contributor(s): Alastair Macrae, Oliver Maxwell

Introduction

  • Modern dairy cows require to be fed a mixture of forages and concentrates in order to meet their high nutrient requirements for lactation.
  • However, high levels of concentrate feeding (greater than 60% DM) may result in the development of subacute rumen acidosis (SARA) Subacute ruminal acidosis, and will increase feed costs.
  • However, if concentrate levels are inadequate and the diet is not sufficiently energy dense for levels of milk production, then the cows will not be able to consume sufficient food to meet their nutritional requirements, ie Dry Matter Intake (DMI) intake and appetite will become limiting. This will result in excessive negative energy balance and body condition loss Body condition scoring as the cows cannot meet the demands of lactation, which may result in harmful effects on milk production, cow health and fertility Nutritional requirements of high yielding dairy cows Ketosis and fatty liver.

Traditional feeding strategies (feeding to yield)

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Out-of-parlor feeders and robotic milking systems

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Total mixed rations (TMR) or complete diets

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Group feeding strategies

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Flat rate feeding strategies

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Little M W, Arnott G A, Welsh M D, Barley J P, O' Connell N E & Ferris C P (2018) Comparison of total-mixed-ration and feed-to-yield strategies on blood profiles and dairy cow health. Vet Rec 183 (21), 655 PubMed.
  • Schingoethe D J (2017) A 100-year review: total mixed ration feeding of dairy cows. J Dairy Sci 100 (12), 10143-10150 PubMed

Other sources of information

  • Heinrichs J & Kmicikewycz A (2016) Total Mixed Rations for Dairy Cows. PennState Extension Services. Website: https://extension.psu.edu.
  • Chamberlain A T & Wilkinson J M (1996) Feeding the Dairy Cow. Chalcombe Publications. ISBN: 978-0948617324.
  • AHDB Dairy. Feeding. Website: https://dairy.ahdb.org.uk


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