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Method of feeding dairy cows

Posted on: July 25, 2019, by Victoria

The feedstuff for dairy cows breeding is the foundation, and the key to bringing the production performance of dairy cows into full play is the feedstuff with good quality and proper nutrition. Besides, it is necessary to carry out scientific and reasonable feeding, master the feeding technology of dairy cow feed and improve the utilization rate of feed to make dairy cows obtain sufficient nutrition and improve milk yield and quality.

Method of feeding dairy cows
Method of feeding dairy cows

Methods of feeding cows 
The feed cost of dairy cows accounts for 70% of the total. The use of technology of feed directly affects the cost of breeding. Therefore, when formulating dairy cow diets, local feed resources should be combined to meet the nutritional needs, but also reduce feed costs and strive for the greatest economic benefits.

1. The ratio of roughage to diet:
According to the physiological characteristics of dairy cows, appropriate feed materials should be selected. Based on dry matter, the proportion of roughage in the diet should be 40%~70%, that is to say, the content of coarse fiber in the diet should be 15%~24% of dry matter. In the early lactation period, the proportion of roughage should also be 40% to ensure the health of the cow.

2. Concentrated food feeding: 
In dairy cow production, it is generally determined by 3 kg of concentrated feed needed for dairy cow maintenance, and 1 kg of concentrated added for each 3 kg of milk produced. Salt accounts for 1%~2% of the concentrated food.

3. Feed intake:
To ensure adequate intake of dairy cows, adequate volume and dry matter intake should be ensured in the diet. The dry matter requirement of high-yielding dairy cows (20-30 kg daily milk production) is 3.3%-3.6% of their body weight, and that of middle-yielding dairy cows (15-20 kg daily milk production) is 2.8%-3.3% and that of low-yielding dairy cows (10-15 kg daily milk production) is 2.8%-3.3%. 5%~2.8%.

4. Dairy cow premix: 
In actual production, there are many kinds of additives with a very small dosage. It is difficult to mix them if they are added directly to the formula feed. Therefore, before adding to the formula feed, the additives and appropriate carriers or diluents should be mixed evenly through a certain processing technology to increase the volume and the number of additives in the formula feed, so that the trace additives can be evenly distributed in the formula feed. The mixture of one or more additives and carriers and/or diluents are called additive premix, or premix for short.

Premix for dairy cows include single premix (such as trace elements or vitamin additives) and compound premix (including vitamins, trace elements, baking soda, and other additives). It is a kind of incomplete feed, which can not be fed directly to dairy cows alone. The dosage of premix in the concentrated feed of dairy cows is generally 1%~5%. Farmers should know the ingredients of the premix when purchasing it, and purchase it according to formula requirements. The composite premix can be purchased for ease of use. However, due to the destructive effect of trace elements in the compound premix on vitamins, products within the effective period should be purchased when purchasing, and the shorter ex-factory date, the better. When using, it should be used according to product marks and instructions. Because the proportion of premix is small, the method of gradual dilution and mixing should be adopted when mixing with concentrated feed.

5. Concentrated feed for dairy cows: 
Concentrated feed for dairy cows refers to a homogeneous mixture of protein feed, mineral feed (calcium, phosphorus, and salt) and additive premix in a certain proportion. The concentrated feed can not be fed directly to dairy cows. Before using it, a certain proportion of energy feed (mainly corn and bran) should be prepared according to the calibrated content to become a concentrated mixture before feeding.

At present, there are many kinds of concentrated feed for dairy cows on the market. Because of the proportion of concentrated feed used in concentrate and the need of feeding dairy cows at different stages, the nutrient composition of concentrated feed also varies greatly. Farmers can purchase and use the concentrate according to their energy feed (corn and bran) and physiological stage of dairy cows.

6. Use of concentrate supplements for dairy cows: 
Concentrate supplement, also known as concentrate mixture, is a feed prepared to supplement the nutritional deficiency of cow green roughage. Because of the rumen physiological characteristics of dairy cows, the concentrate mixture should be fed with crude feed and juicy feed.

When using concentrate supplements for dairy cows, farmers should first purchase different concentrate supplements according to their roughage conditions and different physiological periods of dairy cows. If dairy cows in the dry milk period can not use the feed during the milk production period, calf period can not use the feed during the breeding period; if the variety of coarse feed is poor, they should buy crude protein, high energy, and good quality feed.

Method of feeding dairy cows
Method of feeding dairy cows

Dairy Cow Feeding Technology

1. Ensuring the full nutrition of dairy cows
All the nutrient sources of dairy cows are feed. The quality of feed and its nutrient components have an important impact on the health and production performance of dairy cows. Full nutritional and adequate feed supply is the key to the high yield of dairy cows. When feeding dairy cows, attention should be paid to the scientific formulation of dairy cow diets according to the actual breeding conditions to meet the nutritional needs of dairy cows at all stages. Otherwise, it is easy to cause malnutrition, reproductive performance decline, milk production decrease, milk quality decline, and many diseases. Therefore, the diversity of feed types should be maintained as far as possible when feeds are provided.

Because dairy cows mainly feed on roughage, they should prepare adequate forage and other kinds of feed such as concentrate and feed additives. The roughage of dairy cows mainly includes hay and crop straw. Generally, the nutritional value of hay is better than that of straw. The straw feed is processed into silage, ammonia or micro-silage. The processing of nutritional value and palatability are improved. To meet the milk production needs of dairy cows, it is better to provide adequate green fodder. In winter, silage can be fed as a supplement to the green fodder in the case of a shortage of green fodder. Besides, attention should also be paid to the combination of feeding a certain amount of concentrate to improve milk production. The concentrated feed can be prepared by oneself or mixed material can be purchased, regardless of which one should pay attention to the quality of feed. In addition to nutrition, the cost of feed should be fully considered and the appropriate feed should be selected.

2. Appropriate feeding concentrated feed
There is no direct relationship between milk yield and weight of dairy cows. There is a misunderstanding in dairy farming. It is believed that the higher the body weight, the higher the milk yield. Therefore, blindly increasing the proportion of concentrated feed in the diet will not improve the milk yield and quality of dairy cows, but will lead to overweight of dairy cows. When cows are overweight, a lot of fat will be deposited in the mammary gland, affecting the normal breast discharge reaction, but also easy to cause mastitis.

On the other hand, the structure and function of the rumen of dairy cows determine that if the dairy cows eat too much-concentrated feed, the ruminant activity will be weakened, and the fermentation of concentrated feed in the rumen produces a large amount of acid, which leads to rumen acidosis of dairy cows. Moreover, when the feed contains excessively concentrated feed, and the content of the crude feed is insufficient, it will also lead to fat metabolism disorder in dairy cows, which will lead to poisoning and death.

Therefore, in the process of dairy cattle breeding, it is necessary to feed concentrated feed in an appropriate amount and keep the fatness of dairy cows at 78% during feeding. The optimum concentrate feeding quantity should be determined according to the physiological stage of dairy cows.

3. Processing feed by the scientific method
Scientific and rational processing of dairy cows feed can effectively improve feed utilization rate, feed intake and feed utilization rate of dairy cows. Infeed processing, we should pay attention to that the forage is not the shorter, the better. If the forage is crushed too short and too fine, it is not conducive to the ruminant activity of dairy cows, resulting in indigestion and adverse to the health of the rumen. Therefore, to grasp the best length, the most suitable length for corn straw should generally be kept at 2-3 cm, and the silage feeding effect is better.

The processing and preparation of feed also include silage, ammonia storage or micro-storage. The palatability and nutritional value of forage can be significantly improved by the treatment of forage with the above methods. In addition to the scientific processing of roughage, we should also do a good job in the processing of concentrated feed. When feeding, adding concentrated feed should not be too arbitrary, otherwise, it will affect the feeding nutrition of dairy cows, resulting in an unbalanced nutrition intake of dairy cows, and will increase the cost of feed. Attention should be paid to the granularity of crushing in the processing of concentrate feed. At present, some dairy farms feed concentrate is not advisable. To make the feed more digestible, they often soak the concentrate for a long time.

This method can destroy the nutrients in the feed and breed a large number of bacteria, which cause feed corruption, and is more obvious in summer. If feeding this kind of feed for a long time, the digestive system of dairy cows will have problems and affect the health of dairy cows. When feeding, we should adopt the correct method, which can feed dry feed to dairy cows. To improve the utilization rate of feed, we can also mix the feed wetly before feeding. It can adjust the digestive function of dairy cows and ensure the health and production performance of dairy cows.

4. Strengthen feeding during dry milk period
Dairy cows will lose a lot of nutrients after prolonged lactation, and then need to enter the dry milk period. The purpose of dry milk is to restore the physique of dairy cows, and at the same time to give full rest to breasts, to better play production performance.

On the other hand, because dairy cows maintain their own nutritional needs during pregnancy, but also take into account the growth and development of embryos, therefore, the demand for nutrition is higher. So it is necessary to strengthen feeding even if dairy cows do not produce milk. Adequate nutrition should be provided to dairy cows to meet their physiological needs during the dry milk period, and some concentrated feed should be supplemented properly at this stage. Let the cow keep a stronger physique and lay a good foundation for the next stage of milk production.

5. Rational use of feeding trough
At present, many farmers or farms do not use the feeding trough when feeding cows, but directly put the forage on the ground, allowing the cows to feed freely. Grass feed will stick a lot of dirt and bacteria on the ground, while dairy cows will also eat dirt on the ground when feeding, which increases the risk of infectious and gastrointestinal diseases in dairy cows. Besides, numerous forage on the ground will be trampled by dairy cows, resulting in a waste of feed and increasing feed costs, therefore, the use of feeding trough is advocated. Tie the cow to the feeding trough for feeding, which is not only convenient to clean up the leftovers, avoid the contact between the feed and the dirt on the ground and pathogens, reduce the chance of cow disease, but also save the feed.

Method of feeding dairy cows
Method of feeding dairy cows

How can feeding cows improve milk production?

1. Feeding fermented corn straw:
Feeding dairy cows with fermented corn straw can increase palatability, digestibility, and absorption, and increase milk yield by 10%.

2. Feeding juicy feed:
Winter and spring are the seasons of withered grass. Adding juicy feed such as white radish, carrot, and sweet potato can increase milk yield by about 10%.

3. Feeding green fodder:
Feeding green fodder to dairy cows and silage and hay in winter and spring can increase milk yield by about 10%.

4. Feeding porridge material:
Porridge material has good palatability, and dairy cows like to eat it, which easy to be digested and absorbed. The method is: first dilute the powder concentrated feed with water, and then pour it into the pot after boiling, stirring for 5 - 10 minutes. The ratio of material to water is 1:10-15 in winter and 1:20-30 in summer. Using this method to feed dairy cows can increase milk yield by about 10%.

5. Feeding formula feed:
Feeding formula feed to dairy cows can generally increase milk production by 20%-30%.

6. Feeding baking soda:
100 grams of baking soda per cow per day can increase milk production by more than 10%.

7. Feeding rapeseed cake:
Adding 20% of detoxified rapeseed cake to concentrated feed can increase milk yield by 10%.

8. Feeding insect repellents: 
After giving birth to cows, taking 70 mg of thiabendazole per kilogram of weight to remove parasites in the digestive tract can increase milk yield by 10%.

9. Feeding urea:
Dissolve urea in water and mix it into the feed. No more than 100 grams per cow per day can increase milk production by 15%.

10. Feeding potassium iodide:
Mixing 5 mg potassium iodide and 30 g sodium sulfate with feed evenly, feeding once every two days, can increase milk yield by about 10%.

11. Feeding fish meal:
In the early lactation stage, 750 grams of fish meal per cow per day can increase milk yield by 10%-15%.

12. Feeding uncovered sunflower seeds:
adding 10%-20% uncovered sunflower seeds to the feed of dairy cows can increase the milk yield by 15% compared with the untreated ones.

13. Feeding citrus leaves:
Feeding cows after fermentation of citrus leaves can increase milk yield by about 30%. In early spring, the citrus leaves were collected, washed and chopped, then mixed with a small amount of beer as a starter, put into the silage, fermented for 10 days, and then fed.

14. Feeding honey pollen:
Adding honey pollen to dairy cows feed can increase milk yield by more than 10%.

15. Feeding distiller's grains:
Adding 10% of distiller's grains into the feed can increase milk yield by more than 10%.

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