5 Steps to increase dry matter intake in dairy cows

An increase in intake of dry matter is related to higher milk yield in dairy cow nutrition. Generally speaking, if a well-balanced diet is fed to dairy cows, they will produce 2kg extra milk for an increase in 1kg DM daily.

But, increasing dry matter intake beyond daily limits can be a tough job. A farmer should take necessary steps regarding cattle and feed management; aspects of this problem should be considered while designing an effective dairy nutrition plan. This article provides five steps to upscale dry matter intake during feed creation. But first, a short introduction on dry matter.

What is the dry matter?

The remainder after all water evaporates from a feed is known as dry matter or DM; it indicates the number of nutrients available to the cattle in a particular feed, such as silage. Every farm animal must consume a specific amount of DM regularly to maintain health and production.

The five steps to increase Dry Matter intake

Now that the farmer knows all about DM, now it’s time to reveal the five steps to increase DM intake and, in return, increase milk production.

Use higher quality forages: – Dairy cows have a gut capacity limit. In simple words, they can’t consume DM beyond this physical limit to overcome this and increase nutrient intake within this limit,

It is recommended to use ingredients of the highest nutrient value as farmers cannot use fats and grains to increase nutrient intake due to disorders in metabolism. So the only option is using high-quality forage to maximize nutrition value. For this, the ingredients must include the forages with a nutritional value above 1.3 Mcal/kg. Silage is full of energy, while alfalfa is slightly above the mark. Other forages are either not up to par or just on the spot.

Take care of metabolic disorder: Dairy cows with metabolic disorders will have the same response as other sick animals; they will unalterably decrease daily intake regarding feed intake. That’s why farmers should take special care and necessary measures to make sure that their lactating cows do not suffer from such disorders.

Limit the fat intake in fresh cows: – Cows will unalterably assemble body fat to maintain milk production after calving, regardless of how much feed is available and it’s quality. This mobilized fat increases esterified fatty acids’ circulation in their bodies, which is the same as adding extra fats to the feed.

The physical response of cows to such inflated amounts of fat assimilation components is to decrease feed intake. If the feed contains added fat, then fresh cows’ response reduces feed intake as they won’t stop body fat mobilization. So limiting the fat intake in first parity cows is essential.

Condition cows before calving: – After 5 to 10 weeks of peak dry matter intake, peak milk yield will happen in cows; it means that cows support early lactation by body fat reserves because DM intake cannot match requirements, so to decrease body fat mobilization amount, and boost DM intake in fresh cows, it is strongly advised to condition cows before calving, one can achieve this by using a changeover diet three weeks before the calving phase. Such a diet should be full of carbohydrates to encourage rumen absorption capacity and increase rumen amount; it also helps in reducing ketosis at calving, which also affects DM intake.

Use additives that help balance rumen functioning: – Since each additive depends on the conditions created by the total ration that the cow consumes, plus its physical and health status, not all of them work predictably in conditioning rumen functionality.

Each additive’s evaluation should be farm-specific; generally, sodium bicarbonate, yeast, and yeast derivatives are common; the less frequently used include enzymes, probiotics, clays algae, and different salts. But one should know that it is only secondary to balancing rations. Farmers should keep in mind that they should use additives only to enhance DM intake and never fix issues created by improper ration plans.

Silage Agro sells the best quality Wheat Silage and Corn Silage at affordable prices to farmers in India. Their silage is high in nutrients and contains the most appropriate amount of dry matter.

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