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Poor quality feed emphasizes need to analyze alternatives and facilities

Feed shortages and low-price environments have pushed farmers to analyze what alternatives work in dairy cattle diets.  

Alfredo DiCostanzo with the University of Minnesota tells Brownfield 2019’s difficult growing season has resulted in short supplies as well as feed more vulnerable to molds and mycotoxins.

“As far as what we see for deficits, energy has been compromised.  Silages that have been put up at 19 (percent moisture) are not coming in with the value of energy that we would expect.”

He says co-products like distillers’ grains, gluten feed or beet pulp are viable alternatives to corn grain and are becoming more utilized in tight pricing environments.

DiCostanzo says good feed storage facilities and eliminating feed waste can also pay dividends back to the farmer.

“The investment in feed a year is massive, and it requires that we match it with facilities and management to preserve its value.”

He estimates some dairies can lose up to 30 percent of their corn silage simply from inadequate facilities or poor feed storing techniques which could easily be recaptured.

Brownfield interview during the Great Lakes Regional Dairy Conference. 

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