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A cost-effective diet for dairy cows

Dairy Corner: Feed and yardage costs add up, but production is optimized

Most dairy producers want to feed cost-effective diets to their high milk- (milkfat) producing cows. That’s a tall order, which is most often achieved by obtaining the best lactation diets, first as a formula on paper and blended into a TMR, then put in front of the cows. Finally, it’s up to them to eat […] Read more


Dairy calves need proper feed and winter housing

Whether in a straw house or plastic hutch, keep them clean, keep them fed

Whenever I see dairy calves raised outside in the winter, it often reminds me of a producer I met several years ago. At the time, he told me that years before, he raised pre-weaned dairy calves in the most dismal ways. He used to house about 15 outside in several lean-tos, which were a sheet […] Read more



Replenish vital fluid loss in dairy calves

Dairy Corner: Not only disease, but even heat stress can quickly take its toll

It might be a scouring sick dairy calf or an otherwise healthy one suffering from stress, but death can be minutes away if either calf loses more than 10 per cent of its bodyweight in fluids (water and electrolytes). Fortunately, we can save many of these dairy calves by recognizing the symptoms of dehydration and […] Read more


Dairy Corner: Vitamin A expensive, but necessary

Although the price has shot up, it is important to keep the nutrient in dairy rations

Prices of vitamin A (along with vitamins D and E) have increased to 10 times their former costs from just a few months ago. This skyrocketing price is due to a recent fire at a new manufacturing facility in Germany as well as several vitamin ADE plants that are down for maintenance in China. Together, these events have caused a worldwide shortage […] Read more



Feeding yeast is a good investment

These single-cell organisms can hit on many cylinders to help optimize milk performance

For many years, I have formulated dairy diets with yeast for both dry and lactating dairy cows. It has been my professional intention to promote good dairy nutrition, or solve a particular problem that limits good dairy performance. On occasion, I have seen direct benefits within a couple of days by adding yeast, while other […] Read more




Key tips to reduce milk fever cases

Incidence of the calcium deficiency can be sporadic, but hurt when they hit

Clinical milk fever is a particular insidious metabolic disease in freshened dairy cows. I have witnessed on some dairies, it’s not a significant problem, while next-door neighbours are plagued with downer cows one calving after another. In other dairies, milk fever doesn’t show up for months and then it shows up with a vengeance. From […] Read more


dairy cattle eating hay

Know your lactating dairy diet costs

Look to find a balance between very expensive and very cheap rations

Occasionally, I talk to dairy producers about the financial aspects of operating a barn, aside from dairy nutrition. All producers wish to reduce their lactating feed costs. One producer I know wants to switch to a notorious cheap protein supplement, while another wants to hire a private dairy consultant and tender out all dairy feed […] Read more



Avoid giving your baby calves gut aches

It takes time for a calf stomach to develop to handle certain feeds

I visit literarily hundreds of dairy farms across Canada each year. On most, pre-weaned dairy calves are raised away from the main lactation barn or older replacement heifer facilities. Whether these baby calves are housed in hutches, group pens or brand-new calf barns, when I find a group of calves that are sick and not […] Read more


Dairy Corner: How to optimize dry matter intake

Assess what’s happening at the feed bunk, supply proper ration

There is only one way I know to supply the essential nutrients to high-producing cows to yield large volumes of milk, milk-fat, milk-protein and solids — assure dairy cows optimize dry matter intake of good feed is at its best. As a dairy nutritionist, I am so convinced each bite of lactation diet counts that […] Read more