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Several Ways to Improve the Utilization Rate of Dairy Cow Forage

Posted on: November 25, 2019, by Victoria

1. Do a good job in the preservation of forage leaves
The nutritive value of the leaf part of the whole forage is higher. The nutritive components of all kinds of forage grass, hay and straw are higher in the leaves. For example, the nutrients in the leaves of alfalfa hay are much higher than those in the stems. The content of digestible crude protein is more than three times, crude fat and calcium is 2.5 times higher than that in the stems, phosphorus is more than 0.5 times, and vitamins are mostly found in leaves. Besides, the content of crude fiber in leaves is much less than that in stems, which is only 1/3 of that in stems. Therefore, attention should be paid to the preservation of leaves in the harvesting, processing, and preservation of forage feed.

In the process of forage harvesting and storage, leaves are the most easily lost part, especially some forage fodder, such as soybean leaves and potato leaves, which are easy to fall off. Therefore, special attention should be paid to preservation so that dairy cows can eat more fodder with more leaves, to ensure that dairy cows get more nutrients. During the processing and preparation of forage feed, attention should be paid not to discard the fallen leaves, but to avoid the contamination of the forage during storage, to collect the fallen leaves from the stacks and grasslands. If there is more sand in the detritus leaves, they can be sifted and fed to minimize the loss of leaves.

Several Ways to Improve the Utilization Rate  of Dairy Cow Forage
Several Ways to Improve the Utilization Rate of Dairy Cow Forage

2. Mixed feeding of hay and grass
Hay and grass have different nutritional values and feeding effects. Both of them have their advantages. To improve the utilization rate of forage feed, hay and grass can be crushed and mixed evenly to feed cows in the growing season. At the initial feeding, the proportion of hay and straw could be 2/3 or 3/4. Later, the amount of grass could gradually increase until the transition to feeding mainly grass, supplemented by hay and straw.

Even in the season when grass grows vigorously, it is not recommended feeding the grass completely, but also to feed the hay with good quality. This feeding method can avoid the occurrence of cows' greedy of grass and the decrease of their forage intake, but it also can prevent dairy cows from wasting forage because they are picky about forage. In addition, the method of mixed feeding of hay and grass can also make the two advantageous combinations, so that the characteristics of dry, wet, warm and cool can be organically combined, so that the digestion, absorption, and utilization of forage after feeding can be beneficial, and the healthy growth and development of dairy cows can also be made, milk production can be improved, and the incidence of disease can be reduced.

3. Mixed feeding of various forages
When feeding dairy cows with forage, it should be noted that the feeding type should not be single, because the nutrients contained in different forage are different, such as rice straw, wheat straw and other forage contains less crude protein, calcium, phosphorus, and other nutrients, and feeding alone can not meet the nutritional needs of dairy cows. So it is necessary to mix with leguminous forage which contains crude protein and rich calcium and phosphorus to meet the nutritional needs of dairy cows and improve the utilization rate of forage feed.

Besides, long-term feeding of straw can also lead to rumen relaxation and the indigestion of dairy cows. Hay and straw forage is deficient in phosphorus, and besides high-quality hay, they also lack carotene and trace elements. Therefore, in addition to mixing with other kinds of forage, the proper amount of bone meal and shell meal should be added to the diet. To improve the utilization ratio and obtain comprehensive nutrients, we should select the kinds of forage according to different physiological stages and lactation stages of dairy cows. At the same time, we should also feed some green and juicy forage appropriately.

Several Ways to Improve the Utilization Rate  of Dairy Cow Forage
Several Ways to Improve the Utilization Rate of Dairy Cow Forage

4. Pay attention to the reasonable processing of forage
Reasonable processing of forage feed can increase the utilization rate of forage feed, promote the digestion and utilization of forage feed by dairy cows, and reduce the waste of forage caused by the feeding process of dairy cows. The main processing methods of forage include the physical method (including chopping, kneading and grinding), biological method (including acid and micro storage), and chemical method (including ammoniation and alkalization). When chopping forage, we should pay attention, not to over-comminution, generally can be cut into 3 cm segments, to improve the utilization rate of forage feed. If too short, it will affect the ruminant activity of dairy cows, which is not conducive to rumen fermentation in roughage, not only will it not improve the utilization rate of feed, but it also will cause indigestion.

At present, fermentation, alkalization, ammoniation, and spraying saline water are used to treat forage of Gramineae to improve the digestibility of the forage. The forage after ammoniation and alkalization should be aired before feeding, and then be fed after the odor is dispersed. Silage is often used to improve the nutritional value and palatability of straw feed. For example, corn straw commonly used for feeding dairy cows, before being processed and modulated, because of its high content of crude fiber, low nutritional value, poor palatability, and difficulty indigestion, after silage fermentation, the nutritional value has been improved, in which the crude fiber is easily digested by degraded surface, and the palatability has been improved. It can make up for the lack of green feed in spring and winter, and ensure that dairy cows can get high-quality feed throughout the year so that dairy cows can get adequate nutrition.

5. Pay attention to the method of adding grass
In spring, fresh grass sprouts, which is tender and juicy, and dairy cows like to eat. But the number is small, and dairy cows are not suitable to directly eat a large amount of grass, at this time we should still feed hay. We can take the method of sprinkling a layer of grass on the hay when feeding to induce dairy cows to eat hay, so that increase feed intake. After eating one layer, sprinkle another layer until the cow is full.

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