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Feed Strategies for Certain Purchased Feeds and Feed Additives

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J.W. Schroeder, Extension Dairy Specialist

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 yeild > 65 lb

Animal/fish protein blend (by-pass protein)

Milk yeild > 90 lb
(Corn based diets)

Unprotected fat/oil

Milk yeild > 65 lb Thin cows

protected fat

Milk yeild > 90 lb Thin cows

Chelated/complex minerals

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

Bufferes Early lactation

Wet rations High corn silage rations


Close-up dry cows Early lactation Milk yeild > 70 lb Ketotic-prone cows


Close-up dry cows Fresh cows Cows off-feed

Anionic Salts

Close-up dry cows


All heifers

Porbiotics (Direct Feed Microbials)

Calves on liquid diets cows off-feed


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