A nutrient dense diet approach offers producers a way to hold their herd on track no matter the outside pressures and changing environments of the industry, it is truly a tool to persevere in changing times. Protein and concentrate costs are high, drought conditions in parts of the country bring uncertainty to 2021 harvests, and concerns regarding production and herd health leave many searching for answers. Whether facing adversity today or planning for success to weather the future, looking at feed efficiency and the cost of production provide producers insights.
The equation to evaluate the feed cost per cow per day is simple enough: Cost per pound of dry matter x the pounds each cow eats = Feed cost per cow per day
While there are many solutions the industry is bringing forward to reduce feed costs like feeding more of cheaper ingredients on a per ton base (which actually can cost more than it saves) and breeding for smaller cows (which is a 2.5 year commitment to see any changes), Dairy Herd Management’s recent article shares that one way to look at lowering feed costs can be to lower feed intakes.
While many in the industry believe that lowered intakes would be starving the cow and limiting productivity and believe that cows need to have refusals; when formulated correctly, lowering feed intake is a very efficient and effective approach! As Dairy Herd Management shares, “Most nutritionists use NDFD30 as a metric for digestibility. This is the percentage of fiber that is digestible in 30 hrs. But how much fiber is actually in the cow for 30 hours? What if it is only in the rumen for 24 hrs. or 16 hrs.? BMR corn and alfalfa (with its very fragile fiber) exits the rumen rapidly. This can increase intakes because by exiting it makes room for more feed. This can also increase milk production, but it comes at a high cost. Farmers need to seriously look at whether the few extra pounds of milk is worth a 5-15%increase in feed intakes.”
Priority finds that feeding a nutrient dense ration and feeding to an empty bunk can benefit the producer’s bottom line and the cow’s productivity. Made possible with Microbiology Nutrition, a nutrient dense ration is formulated to meet the cows’ metabolic, production, reproduction, and health needs in the most compact package as possible. This means that she has less mouthfuls of feed to consume and less time she needs to stand at the feed alley to meet her calorie and nutrient needs. With a consistent schedule, the entire herd can meet their energy needs and moreover are ready for the next feeding when the mixer drives by – No warm, sloppy refusals to push out and no wasted dollars spent!
Microbiology Nutrition is about using the feed the producers have available, formulating rations that focus on forages first. This allows Priority to maximize the NFC (fermentable fiber, starch, sugars, and silage acids). With a maximized NFC diet, Microbiology Nutrition can actually deliver more energy to a cow in less pounds of intake. The example below shows how this is possible:
56lbs DMI with 40% NFC = 22.4lbs carbohydrates (56 x .40)
48lbs DMI with 48% NFC = 23.04lbs carbohydrates (48 x .48)
As illustrated above, the cows eat less, but get more in that package as energy needs are met on less intake. Microbiology Nutrition is revolutionizing how producers can be profitable and efficient.