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Success in dairying includes managing all phases of production. Research and practice have shown that for maximum return, lactation management starts during the cows’ dry period. Profitable dairy operations achieve a balance between high production, good health, and successful reproduction. Good performance in all three areas is necessary for high economic returns.
Wet milling of corn results in coproducts that are excellent feedstuffs for dairy cattle when properly fed. With the recent opening of the wet corn milling plant in southeastern North Dakota, two coproducts, wet and dry corn gluten feed (CGF) are available to area producers. However, it also requires some special considerations, not only in feeding, but also in storage and handling (addressed in a companion circular, AS-1127 Corn Gluten Feed–Composition, Storage, Handling, Feeding, and Value).
Proper feeding management of the dairy herd can improve the economy of production and provide for a healthier cow. Feeding to increase production of milk with maximum levels of milk fat and protein is essential for achieving these benefits.
The maxim ‘no udder – no cow’ summarizes the importance of maintaining udder health in any cow, especially the dairy cow. Protecting the udder and teats is imperative to assure a cow’s longevity in the herd as well as uphold milk quality. Damage to the mammary gland in any form can be devastating to the usefulness of the dairy cow. Winter time in the Northern States presents just such a challenge when cows are exposed to the climatic elements of extensive cold and wind. This is further aggravated by unwanted moisture, leaving the teats vulnerable to damage caused by extensive cold weather conditions.
The term total mixed ration (TMR) may be defined as, “The practice of weighing and blending all feedstuffs into a complete ration which provides adequate nourishment to meet the needs of dairy cows.” Each bite consumed contains the required level of nutrients (energy, protein, minerals and vitamins) needed by the cow.