An Apple a Day, the Cattle Way


Nutrition can influence the fat concentration and milk protein concentration of milk as well as cause metabolic issues in cows. Metabolic disorders are especially a problem for fresh cows and can be signs of health problems. By measuring cow milk yield and components to identify potential management improvements, you can save time and money on your farm.


Dairy nutrition is about understanding the nutritional requirements of dairy cows at various stages of lactation and combining various feed alternatives to meet those needs in a cost-effective manner. The nutrients required by dairy cows are energy, fibre, protein, water, minerals. Pasture provides a balanced feed source and generally only provides a profitable response to supplementation if there is a deficit. Energy is the key driver of milk production. Its determines milk yield, composition and body weight. The main feed energy sources are soluble carbohydrates and fibre. Protein and fats in the feed can also be used as a source of energy.


During the lactation period, dairy cows have very high nutritional requirements, relative to most species. Tender growing grass feed or other high-quality pasture crops usually supply ample nutrients required for healthy growth of your cattle, such that both mature and young growing cattle can consume sufficient good quality mixed pasture for normal growth and maintenance. The relationship between nutrition and reproduction is an increasingly important topic of concern among dairy producers, veterinarians, feed dealers and extension workers in today’s times due to the synonymous relationship between nutritional deficiencies and reproductive problems. Therefore, it is recommended to feed the cows with a predominant aim for top production, following which the nutrient requirements for reproduction will be adequately met. Considerable progress has been made by animal scientists during the past years in discovering and managing the factors that contribute to the efficient reproduction in domestic animals.


Deficiencies of various trace minerals, inadequate vitamin intakes, energy, protein imbalances and excessive protein intakes are contributors to infertility and poor reproductive performance. Progress in improving the fertility of domestic animals has been achieved by studying genetic, nutritional, endocrine, disease and managemental factors as they contribute to both fertilization failure and embryo mortality. It has also been noticed that cessation of oestrus with suppression of ovulation, or ovulation without oestrus is a result of sub-par feeding.

Are you making your share of ration changes soon enough to keep your cows healthy, avoid milk loss and prevent component changes?

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