Ewes much larger than this do not wean off any more pounds of lamb and cost more to feed. If I had a sustainable source of high-quality alfalfa hay, I would gladly feed it to my goats. Percentages work well when talking ingredients in dairy cow feed rations, but they don’t provide much information on the amount of nutrition consumed by the cow. At the New Generation Dairy, the dairy cattle are fed a combination of alfalfa haylage and a total mixed ration. Dairy cow feed can be simple and easy, especially during the rotating shifts of milking. This could be as low as 2 pounds when feeding high-quality alfalfa to as much as 10 pounds or more when using low-quality alfalfa. The cow may be stuck eating out of one haystack. There are three types to choose from depending upon the agricultural operation's needs: the dehydrated bales, AlfalfaPremium ForteBales; FortePellets; and ForteWafers. Conversely, feeding one large round bale of hay, to two or three steers or cows will last a few weeks. 95 0 obj <>stream It is important that the mineral be loose, because a lactating dairy cow cannot get all the minerals it needs from a block – it would require too much time/effort. Each issue of Progressive Forage contains articles which focus on a particular topic area within the forage industry. However, CP tends to overvalue the nutritional value of protein in forages relative to many protein supplements (e.g., soybean or canola meal). Alfalfa forage compliments corn silage in dairy cow lactation rations better than most any other forage available in the United States. Dairy cow dietary requirements. Asked by Wiki User. Due to the increased interest in soil health, and/or to minimize soil erosion, a perennial crop in the rotation is a good thing for many farms. There is no other forage that can constantly deliver 20% crude protein while producing 3 to 5 tons of dry matter per acre under energetic agronomic management. Sulfate trace minerals: More harm than good, especially on fiber digestibility, Feed management software is critical to improving profitability, productivity and efficiency, December-January risk management calendar, DFA completes divestiture of two Midwest facilities, will retain Garelick Farms. 1. Then, a game plan for accomplishing these changes needs to be designed and implemented. The concentration of NDF in forage is negatively correlated with intake, but an even stronger positive correlation is found between in vitro NDF digestibility (IVNDFD) and intake. 2008-11-13 16:21:50 2008-11-13 16:21:50. Q: How much alfalfa to feed a dairy cow? To produce milk, dairy cows must consume large quantities of feed to meet energy requirements. Just a thought! Since it is organic and low-maintenance, that is what we feed our goats. The proven family cows cost more, while a first-calf heifer will cost less. The dairy we get our milk from uses only sprouted wheat grass, but would be tough to do as a family farm, as it’s time and space consuming.The cows on both ways look and act happy and healthy. They are both 3 years old. Alfalfa is about 16 percent protein, sometimes more, so it has as much protein in it as most commercial goat feeds. How much does it cost to feed a milk cow? Answer. What this means Dairy nutritionists traditionally have relied heavily on alfalfa. Her age, weight, breed, pasture, hay quality, and a mineral program will all have an impact on how much feed to give her. Mixing grass with alfalfa usually lowers the protein but slightly increases TDN content of hay. The passage rate of alfalfa hay is approximately 36 hours vs. 70 hours for grass hay. The next time you see a load of alfalfa hay, don’t be so quick to dismiss the hay as dairy feed. Crude protein (CP) levels decrease as alfalfa ages, while fibrous components such as neutral and acid detergent fibers increase (Figure 1). Furthermore, cows that consume large amounts of feed have ruminal fluid pH values that are about 6.0, which also decreases ruminal degradation of protein from soybean meal. However, to compare forages to other feeds, we need to know what MP, NEL and forage NDF are worth. Alfalfa is higher in protein than grass hays, so alfalfa pellets can be used to boost the protein level of a diet. Alfalfa is recognized as one of the most nutritious forages available and is widely used as conserved forage (ex, hay, silage) in the diets of beef and dairy cattle. In this case, reformulate the ration to see how much of that feed you can now use. In addition to free choice hay and whatever feed you choose, every dairy cow should have access to loose mineral and salt. Some of that has to do with how much land the dairy has to grow forages and land base requirements for manure. Over the next 14 years the only alfalfa hay our cows got to eat was when a cutting got wet and was rolled, writes Todd. Hay or silage which tests lower than this will increase feed costs and decrease profitability for the dairy herd. High producing dairy cows consume much larger amounts of feed, which reduces the amount of time that the feed is exposed to the ruminal microbes and thus lowers the ruminal degradation of that feed. A neighbour and his friends bought every bale that year. For example, 10 pounds of grass hay (the minimum a 1000 pound horse should be eating per day) contains 1.08 … Alfalfa pellets to boost the protein level of a diet. Grass hay, instead of alfalfa, can provide adequate energy to this pregnant cow, but protein may be deficient if the grass was mature at harvest. Top Answer. In a dairy business, feed costs typically represent 40 to 50% of the costs of producing milk, making feed costs the largest cost category. Create an open forum of discussion and an easy-to-read magazine of expert information about the U.S. dairy industry. 610 March 1938 UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE WASHINGTON, D. C. FEEDING DAIRY COWS ON ALFALFA HAY ALONE1 By R. R. GRAVES, chief, J. R. DAWSON, senior dairy husbandman, D. V. KOPLAND, A. L. WATT, and A. G. VAN HORN, assistant dairy husbandmen, Division of Dairy Cattle Breeding, Feeding, and Management Investigations, Bureau of Dairy … Any way you look at the process of feeding cattle, knowing how much hay does a cow eat, will help you stay ahead of the demand. Imagine what you could do with the knowledge of how much feed (in pounds) a cow or group of cows ate. However, the utilization of alfalfa by grazing beef cattle has been limited due to its propensity to cause pasture bloat. Least cost formulations change as feed costs change. Estimating daily feed intake of your cow herd is the first step in determining the amount of forage that is needed to be on-hand for a harvested forage feeding program. Least cost formulations change as feed costs change. High producing dairy cows consume much larger amounts of feed, which reduces the amount of time that the feed is exposed to the ruminal microbes and thus lowers the ruminal degradation of that feed. The typical deviation in CP from the average at a given RFQ could be worth plus or minus $20 per ton. Related: Hay stocks are short, causing concern for fall-winter feed supplies As we crunch the numbers and double-check our feed resources to make sure we have enough hay to feed our cows through the winter, there are a few important factors to think about. A 1200-pound cow, ready for processing, will require 36 pounds of forage per day based on the formula used here. Their production for the 4 years averaged 10,352 pounds of milk and 359 pounds of butterfat per cow per year. As an example, if it were determined the daily dry matter intake of a group of 1,200 pound cow eating an average quality hay is 24 pounds per head and the hay that they are consuming is 88% dry matter, these cows would consume about 27 (24 pounds/.88) pounds per head per day on an as-fed basis. Now, with all that said, let me tell you what we feed our cows. "As for planning the quantity of alfalfa to raise or buy, you might consider feeding adult cows an average of five pounds per day during low-quality forage feeding," said Cole. Q: How much alfalfa to feed a dairy cow? With these three nutrients, MP, NEL and NDF, we account for most of the value of forages. We have friends who feed with alfalfa pellets instead of grain and they have rich thick cream and sweet milk. Most dairy farmers work with nutritionists to create a feed ration (recipe) that is best suited for their cows. Many dairy producers across the Midwest have had difficulties harvesting adequate quantities of high quality alfalfa forage due to 2012 drought and 2013 winter kill. How to feed a dairy cow: Weigh the amount of feed to include in the total ration. However, forage quality very definitely affects milk yield, and we need to include quality parameters when estimating economic value. How many pounds of alfalfa does the average dairy cow eat per day? This ration is dependent on where the farm is located in Canada and what feed types are most commonly available. That ability is based on the nutrient composition of the forage and the effect the forage has on feed intake. The cows on alfalfa hay alone produced 83 percent as much The dairy we get our milk from uses only sprouted wheat grass, but would be tough to do as a family farm, as it’s time and space consuming.The cows on both ways look and act happy and healthy. Purebred producers who are trying to sell breeding stock and compete on the show circuit will need to maintain a ewe which meets the breed standards for size and weight. If that stack is brown or golden, with no evidence of wellpreserved green plants, look for a supplement. Based on a large U.S. database, average 30- and 48-hour IVNDFD are: At typical diet costs (around 11 cents per pound of dry matter), the quality adjustment per one unit change in IVNDFD ranges between $2.40 per ton of forage dry matter (DM) (when milk is $14 per hundredweight) up to $4.86 per ton of DM when milk is $22 per hundredweight. Cows are ruminants and fresh herbs are essential for milk production. In this case, reformulate the ration to see how much of that feed you can now use. There is no other forage that can consistently deliver 20% crude protein while yielding 3 to 5 tons of dry matter per acre under vigorous agronomic management. How much forage can one formulate into high-producing dairy cow rations? While some classes of beef cattle do not need high quality alfalfa hay, there is a place for using high quality, or “dairy quality”, alfalfa hay. Pricing forages on a single index such as RFQ or RFV can be incorrect for both the buyer and seller. It’s thought to be a good buy when the price of an unused feed goes below the opportunity price. To start calculating a ration, 5 to 7 pounds of alfalfa a day would be a great starting point for any nutritionist. Alfalfa As An Energy Source You must take into account any wasted feed and adjust accordingly. The model demonstrates that, with a low milk:feed price ratio, it is hard to justify alfalfa hay in similar diets, but during periods with a high milk:feed price ratio (such as 4.0) alfalfa can demand a premium of up to $100 per ton of dry matter over corn silage. Based on several studies, for every percentage unit change in IVNDFD (measured either at 30 or 48 hours), dry matter intake (DMI) and milk production is expected to change by 0.26 and 0.47 pound per day, respectively. Over the past decade her, ds successfully increased forages (i.e., grasses, alfalfa, corn silage) from 50% of the diet (on a dry matter basis) to >55%. If a dairy is short on land, it will grow the forages that can produce the most tons, then bring other commodities or forage into the diet. Brian grows as … The quality adjustment would be 5 x 2.55 = $12.75, which is added to the nutrient value of $230 and makes the alfalfa hay worth about $243 per ton as-fed. Some producers have tried to lower feed costs by reducing the amount of alfalfa hay in the ration and replacing it with corn silage, reasoning the change in diet would not negatively affect the energy intake or output of the cow. Progressive Cattle magazine captures the essence of the cattle producer and ranching experience. If your herd does not have access to feed that has been harvested at the right time, if forage is grown in poorly maintained soil conditions, or if it is allowed to collect dust, mold spores, and other pollutants during storage and transport, your herd, and milk supply, will suffer. The $0.28/ pound of actual protein is $0.08 cheaper than the average grass hay listed and significantly cheaper than the packaged supplements listed. But more important than the amount of food is that they get the right kinds of food to keep them healthy. Silage was not introduced to dairy rations in California until the 1980s. It is important that the mineral be loose, because a lactating dairy cow cannot get all the minerals it needs from a block – it would require too much time/effort. The point is relatively simple. It is also very high in calcium, which is great for milk production. Alfalfa has a 15:1 calcium to phosphorus ratio , which makes it a perfect complement to grain, which is high in phosphorus. Cow breeders generally live in green areas and grow in farms. The computer will often give an opportunity or break-even cost for feeds not used in the ration. In a dairy business, feed costs typically represent 40 to 50% of the costs of producing milk, making feed costs the largest cost category. ��d��%�i,9�_�����AP*pJ_b[b�~F�ah\J��C#�AR���N�� �~\�������-���$���{^�����I1�&���t~�͚��b�,{7��#ޫ�/Nj⮜/��P8%��ڂqF�����]N������E�,&�������0N�}:��3�����~�8�L/�u�wB�mZ�ƙx�~ alfalfa/day to stock cows in winter, they're probably getting more than enough protein but maybe not enough total digestible nutrients (TDN). Your top concern should be the quality of feed you're using to catalyze milk production in your livestock. These timely themes deliver information relevant to forage producers and other forage professionals to help them be more successful and profitable in their areas of operation. A rough estimate on how much feed to give your cattle can be done by hand, but you are better off working with a dairy or beef nutritionist or veterinarian. Since it is organic and low-maintenance, that is what we feed our goats. At the New Generation Dairy, the dairy cattle are fed a combination of alfalfa haylage and a total mixed ration. V��ehF0�hB�q��1`R���\bi���zg�K �� Alfalfa provides a valuable combination of yield and crude protein. It’s hard because the ‘right’ amount of feed is going to change for every cow. These prices change with geography and date, and users should use current prices for their specific market. Our Jerseys are around 900 pounds. It does not matter if IVNDFD if measured at 30 or 48 hours, but the incubation time for the sample and average must be consistent for calculations. One should know how much parts of each feed (roughage or concentrate) to offer when giving different feed resources to supply different nutrients. value greater than 150. High quality feed is important for a cow’s health and milk production. Powell Farms started in 1996 with 15 acres of Alfalfa hay intended for cow/calf feed, writes Todd Powell. Never introduce hungry animals to leafy alfalfa. Increase the amount of feed if weather conditions warrant it. Alfalfa below 140 RFV may be too high in fiber to be an economical purchase, while alfalfa above 180 RFV may be too low in fiber, which can result in acidosis in the rumen. © Copyright 2020 Progressive Dairy. Today, many Midwest herds use 55-60% forage inclusion. Then, a game plan for accomplishing these changes needs to be designed and implemented. High quality feed is important for a cow’s health and milk production. The quality adjustment would be 5 x 2.55 = $12.75, which is added to the nutrient value of $230 and makes the alfalfa hay worth about $243 per ton as-fed. Q: How much alfalfa to feed a dairy cow? Because RFV and RFQ have strong negative correlations with fiber (measured as NDF), forages with high RFV or RFQ have low concentration of NDF, but forage NDF is an essential nutrient and thus has economic value. Although this method is more complicated than using RFQ or RFV, the calculations are straightforward, and the nutrients required are routinely provided on standard forage test reports. Two common indices of forage quality, relative feed value (RFV) and relative forage quality (RFQ), are often used to price hay (higher RFV or RFQ = higher price). Feed intake for lactating cows is averagely 3 percent of their body weights on dry matter basis. It depends on the cow and location, but dairy cows generally sell for $900-$3000 in our part of the country. How Much Grain to Feed a Cow? Interestingly, in many parts of the U.S. grass hay is more expensive than alfalfa hay on a ‘per pound’ basis (and much more on a ‘per pound of protein’ basis), but provides much less protein and similar energy. How much is a forage worth to a dairy cow? Feeding Cows 101. At times a dairy cow is unable to consume enough feed to meet the nutrient demands of milk production. The bales can be pulled using chains. This is a tough question to answer… The cost of feeding a cow depends on: a) How much pasture you have Alfalfa supplies an important mix of yield as well as crude healthy protein. Because the response is based on a change in IVNDFD (not an actual value), we need to calculate the difference in IVNDFD between a sample and the average for the forage type. They are both 3 years old. Now let’s learn more about cows care. Progressive Dairy magazine is printed 20 times each year for forward-thinking U.S. dairy producers. When forage availability is tight like it is during drought, being able to determine how much inventory needed will help enhance the profit potential of the cow/calf enterprise. with a relative feed value (RFV) of 150 versus 115, the lower quality alfalfa hay (RFV == 115) supports 1.5 lbs less milk. Geography also plays a role in whether alfalfa is included in feed … This monthly publication is tailored for all segments of the beef industry and will consistently provide compelling features and photography, timely news, expert industry voices and entertaining commentary. With nutrient composition data and the price of nutrients, you can estimate the value of a forage relative to other feedstuffs within a market (see box for example). But more important than the amount of food is that they get the right kinds of food to keep them healthy. Today, it makes up 10 to 15 percent of the dry matter in rations. For June 2020 in Ohio, MP was worth 47 cents per pound, NEL was 4.4 cents per Mcal, and forage NDF was 13 cents per pound. Alfalfa provides a valuable combination of yield and crude protein. While some classes of beef cattle do not need high quality alfalfa hay, there is a place for using high quality, or “dairy quality”, alfalfa hay. It depends on the cow and location, but dairy cows generally sell for $900-$3000 in our part of the country. The first step is to determine the value of the nutrients provided by forage. The grass in Montana is some of the best in the world. The concentrations of NDF, CP and NEL can be measured or estimated by labs. Hi. If milk is $16 per hundredweight, one unit is worth $3 per ton DM ($2.55 per ton as-fed at 85% DM). One factor to consider when determining the price dairy farmers should pay for a forage is the ability of the forage to support milk production. A lactating dairy cow will eat 100 pounds of food every day! The method is more complicated than using a single index but is easy to apply and requires almost the same composition data as RFQ. How much to feed dairy cows? Remove and sell animals that are chronic bloaters. After all, cows eat amounts not percentages. After all, cows eat amounts not percentages. For forage, the efficiency of converting CP to MP is 0.56 (MP = CP x 0.56). (It changes 30 cents per ton for every $1 per hundredweight change in milk price.). It's also good to have a feed formulation software program available to you so you know exactly what to feed, how much to feed, and how it will impact your cow herd. The award-winning magazine's editors and contributors provide compelling features, helpful articles, insightful news analysis, and entertaining commentary about the people, practices and topics related to a dairy lifestyle. Bill Weiss and Alex Tebbe for Progressive Dairy. Hi. Crude protein (CP) levels decrease as alfalfa ages, while fibrous components such as neutral and acid detergent fibers increase (Figure 1). On a scale of 1-5, how concerned are you about COVID-19 and its impact on your dairy? Forage which tests lower can be fed to those cattle which require lower amounts of nutrients relative to the high-producing dairy cow. If the alfalfa in the table had an IVNDFD-30 hour of 46%, the sample is five units higher in IVNDFD-30 hour than the average (46 - 41). In fact, the whole romantic idea of cowboys and cattle drives began with trailing herds of cattle up from Texas into the rich prairie grasslands to fatten through the summer before being shipped by rail to markets in the east. Allow plenty of feed space for all animals to have access at once. Do not feed dairy-quality alfalfa hays to beef cattle. Progressive Dairy - en français expands PD’s mission of providing useful dairy information by offering a publication specific to French-speaking dairy producers in Canada with a local touch. Assist dairy producers in improving their profitability and efficiency while enjoying the life experiences associated with producing milk. %PDF-1.6 %���� Learn the best feed options for beef cattle with this breakdown on grass, hay, alfalfa and more from Storey’s Guide to Raising Beef Cattle. How much does it cost to feed a milk cow? However, forages provide other valuable nutrients such as protein and fiber.