Harvest

Handling dry cow diets with high wheat straw inclusion

Nuria Garcia

In the weeks leading up to calving, dairy cows should consistently eat a balanced diet with the goal of improving dry matter intake (DMI) and metabolic health post-partum.

Cows can have regular intake at the end of their gestation by offering them diets with adequate energy, including feeds with low nutrient density (e.g. wheat straw). These diets are designed to encourage ad libitum intake, while controlling energy uptake so that cows do not gain excessive body condition during the dry period.

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Wheat forage for silage, when should it be harvested for lactating cows?

Francisco E. Contreras Govea

Typical recommendations for harvesting cereal small grains for silage have been an issue for many years. If the main goal is to maximize silage nutritive value, without considering DM yield then, the recommendation has been to harvest at boot stage. On the other hand, if the main goal is to maximize yield without sacrificing nutritive value, then the recommendations is to harvest at soft-dough stage. Harvesting at boot stage DM yield is lower by 31% (7.4 Ton/ha) relative to soft-dough stage. These recommendations have been developed from the agronomic standpoint and laboratory analysis, without feeding to dairy cows (Contreras- Govea et al., 2006; Coblentz et al., 2018).

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