GFM Network News


Proper rations can help prevent (and correct) deficiencies which can lead to milk fever.

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

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


More whole milk is needed to meet the basic water requirement of pre-weaned calves.

Pre-weaned calves need extra water

Dairy Corner: Satisfying thirst also promotes good dry calf starter intake

Feeding milk replacer or whole milk does not provide enough water for growing pre-weaned dairy calves. Young calves have a natural requirement for water which is often higher and separate than what is provided by most milk-based feeding programs. By providing all the water needed, calves adapt to dry calf starter quicker, grow faster and […] Read more

Raw palm kernels need to be crushed and oil rendered, fractioned, filtered and separated before being turned into commercial beads, prilled or flaked free-fatty acids.

Dairy Corner: Don’t overdo palm fat in dairy cattle rations

Palm fat can help increase milk fat, but more isn’t necessarily better

There has been an explosive use of palm fat in many dairy diets. This growth has been fuelled by the numerous incentive days issued by milk marketing boards to increase milk fat production in lactating dairy cows. On the plus side, I see a profitable milk fat increase on many farms because some bypass palm […] Read more


corn silage chopping

Right and wrong fermentation

Dairy Corner: If silage moisture is too high going in, it can affect feed quality and palatability

This autumn, I have seen a variety of corn fields being chopped into silage for dairy cattle. While some of this corn was dried enough to make some good quality corn silage, I was surprised when I saw some producers literarily harvested green chop. After all, they were faced with another rain shower, which forced […] Read more

Brown young calf in barn pen.

Dairy Corner: Good starter provides a good start

Make sure the starter has proper nutrients but also great taste

In recent years, I have seen a lot of pressure on dairy producers to feed more whole milk or milk replacer to their pre-weaned calves. University trials show baby calves fed high levels of milk turn it into superior bodyweight, girth and height at weaning, which make better future-lactating cows. Not to be overshadowed, there […] Read more