| Share

Feed Strategies for Certain Purchased Feeds and Feed Additives

Cows in Drought

Strategies to economize feed additive use.

June 2017

J.W. Schroeder, NDSU Dairy Cattle Specialist Emeritus

Feed additives can raise feed costs by $.02 to $.30 per cow per day. Dairy farmers and nutritionists must correctly position feed additives to economically justify their use. Benefit to cost ratios can vary from 10:1 (anionic salts) to 8:1 (ionophores and zinc methionine) to 4:1 (buffers and yeast) to 3:1 (niacin).

The following table outlines strategies when to include certain purchased feeds in dairy rations. Use it as a guide for your feed additive needs. Work with a trained nutritionist to help fine-tune your ration needs.

Strategies with additives and purchased feeds.

Feed Ingredient


Undegraded protein

Milk yield > 65 lb

Animal/fish protein blend (by-pass protein)

Milk yield > 90 lb
(Corn based diets)

Unprotected fat/oil

Milk yield > 65 lb, thin cows

Protected fat

Milk yield > 90 lb, thin cows

Chelated/complex minerals

Close-up dry cows, E.T. donor cows (stress conditions)

Buffers Early lactation

Wet rations, high corn silage rations


Close-up dry cows, early lactation, milk yield > 70 lb, ketotic-prone cows


Close-up dry cows, fresh cows, cows off-feed

Anionic Salts

Close-up dry cows


All heifers

Probiotics (Direct Feed Microbials)

Calves on liquid diets, cows off-feed

Creative Commons License
Feel free to use and share this content, but please do so under the conditions of our Creative Commons license and our Rules for Use. Thanks.