Friday 3 January 2020Feeding Moist Blend to Dairy Cows
Dairy Cows and Duynie Moist Blends
For every dairy farmer, one of the most important – and tricky – challenges is hitting upon the perfect feed. There’s a lot of science to interpret and a lot of variables at play – within the herd as a whole, as well as from cow to cow. Let’s take a top-level look at dairy cow nutrition to see how feeding Duynie moist blends will help you find a feed regime that delivers the best results.
The nutritional needs of dairy cows
To be healthy and productive, a cow needs water (at least 60 litres a day), energy (50-80% of which comes from volatile fatty acids – VFAs – produced by fermentation in the rumen), protein, vitamins and minerals.
Dry matter intake (DMI) is the measure used by the dairy industry to assess what a cow needs at every point in her lactation cycle. It’s known as ‘dry’ because it refers to the weight of organic matter, minus water, entering the cow’s system to nourish her and fulfil her biological needs. Getting DMI right positively influences animal wellbeing, milk yield, fertility and economic efficiency. So its importance can’t be underestimated.
Influences affecting DMI
There are many forces at work influencing what a cow needs to eat, what she will eat, what she can eat and how much benefit she gets from her food.
What she needs to eat is influenced by:
- Lactation stage
- Body condition
What she wants to eat is influenced by:
- Protein levels – rapidly digested protein stimulates appetite
- Composition and digestibility – well-balanced diets that are easily digested encourage intake
- Palatability – tempting, tasty food that smells good is more readily consumed
- Spoilage – any suggestion of decay or contamination will put cows off eating
- Ration changes – abrupt alterations upset willingness to feed
What she can eat is influenced by:
- Fibre content – roughage takes longer to pass through the system, suppressing appetite
- Processing – smaller particles are easier to eat
- Access and competition – cows who can eat ad-lib in a relaxed manner eat more readily
- Water – clean, fresh water is a vital aid to digestion
- Regularity – feeding little and often means food stays fresh and stimulates interest
Intake, appetite and nutritional value
The rate at which food transits a cow’s system is influenced largely by fibre content and is a crucial consideration in effective nutrition. Bulky feed (like straw) is slow to process and low in nutrients, so it’s not physically possible for the animal to eat enough to fulfil all her needs. Fast-protein feeds that pass quickly through the system (such as silage) might meet all of a cow’s nutritional needs but not satisfy her appetite, resulting in over-eating. This is the bovine equivalent of enjoying tasty takeaway food and feeling hungry again an hour later.
The ideal dairy ration balances the rate of passage through the system with delivery of appropriate nutrition. A mixed ration that provides a combination of fast-release, gradual-release and slow-release energy is the easiest and most efficient way to achieve this.
What Duynie can offer
At Duynie, we pride ourselves on the economical use of co-products, making valuable feedstuffs from what might otherwise be wasted. We’re also proud of the rigorous research and science that underpins all of our products.
Our highly qualified nutritionists analyse every component that goes into our moist blends to formulate a perfectly balanced offering that takes the guesswork out of DMI calculations. Their expertise in bovine digestion means that complex physiological processes have been considered in the formulation of our feeds. So, for example, our blends match nitrogen and carbohydrate in the rumen to facilitate effective protein assimilation, avoiding nitrogen wastage through gas and urine.
Duynie moist blends are:
- Palatable – they taste good and smell good. When mixed with forage they encourage intake.
- Rumen efficient – they foster ideal rumen conditions to increase efficient fermentation. Yeast in Sedagold Syrup stimulates rumen microbes.
- Consistent – every mouthful of every batch is the same, discouraging picky eating.
- Storable – easy-to-store, includes a preservative that increases the on-farm shelf life. Combined with an effective storage regime, this preservative considerably extends the period for which the moist blend keeps.
- Optimal dry matter – cows eat most when food is 40-55% DM. Moist blends contain 45%.
- Balanced – unlike home-grown forage which offers variable value from batch to batch and across the seasons, moist blends consistently deliver a balance of protein, sugars, starch and fibre. Readily fermentable carbs, for example, drive up milk yields.
- Flexible – complementing your feeding system, moist blends can be used as forage extenders, concentrate replacers and for buffer feeding.
- Citrus – repels pests
Our range of moist blends includes Power Mix, Boost Mix, Advance Mix, Optimizer 25 and Optimizer 28. Whether you want to complement homegrown forage, uplift energy or boost protein, there’s a palatable and effective moist blend to do that.
Want to find out which will suit your herd? Feel free to get in touch. Our nationwide team of sales managers and our dedicated nutritionist are on hand to answer questions about your particular set-up and make recommendations for your herd.