Our Fall Feed Management Picks

It is a great time of year to re-visit some basic feeding tools. Our Dairy One team shares some of their tips and insights on which services they think will have the biggest impact on your fall feed management.

Forage Analysis

To properly manage your feed program it’s essential to know what you’re feeding. This information is critical to ration formulation but also may provide insight into your feed management and production.

A corn silage processing score will measure how well your silage was processed and in turn how easily energy is available. Analyzing fiber digestibility using an NDFDom time point package will reveal the portion of indigestible fiber. Both analyses can be an indicator of the effectiveness of kernel processing during harvest. Forage Lab Director, Mike Reuter also recommends a fermentation profile to measure silage quality and help you assess how much DM was lost through harvest and storage.

Milk Urea Nitrogen (MUN)

This summer we introduced changes to our MUN program. All herds now receive a MUN alert should more than half of the herd’s MUN fall outside of 8-14 mg/dl. Additionally, farms can enroll in our Standard MUN program and receive individual MUN information for $0.08 per cow per sample along with a Feed Management Diagnostic report.

Why pay for individual MUN information when you’re getting the alerts for free? The alerts are valuable but they are working off the herd average, which may not show the whole picture. If half of the herd has a MUN of 5 and half a MUN of 15, the average will be 10. This falls within the desired range, yet 100% of the cows in the herd fall outside of the desired range.

Monitoring MUN, especially during a transition from one silage to another, is a great way to manage the amount of protein in the diet. Director of Field Staff Training, Jason Wolfe says, “the Feed Management Diagnostic report is a really great tool for farms to share with their nutritionist when they’re managing any sort of feed change while maintaining production.”

Feed Management Software

FeedWatch allows users to trace feed from the bunk to the cows by monitoring usage, intake, and costs. As the largest cost on the farm, it only makes sense for feed to be closely managed. Dairy One FeedWatch Support Specialist, Amanda Mitcheltree finds one of the most valuable features of FeedWatch is simply being able to confirm proper diets and monitor errors.

We’re waving the installation fee on FeedWatch installs from now until December 31, 2021. That’s a savings of up to $3,000! Dairy One’s FeedWatch support team is excited to talk to you about the impact FeedWatch could have on your feed management program. For more information, contact our FeedWatch team at [email protected].