Advice for feeding forage alternatives

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Limited forage availability and poor forage quality are reasons to consider forage alternatives. They can replace a large fraction of forage in the diet, say experts at Michigan State University. However, make sure to heed this advice:

Keep forages with higher fiber concentrations and longer particles in the diet.

Limit use of rapidly fermented feeds, such as finely ground high-moisture corn and molasses, to reduce the risk of acidosis.

Minimize slug feeding. Diets with less coarse fiber require less chewing and can be consumed more quickly. This results in larger meals being consumed and the risk of rumen acidosis. To offset this problem, avoid factors that lead to slug feeding, such as overcrowding and feeding for zero weigh-backs.

Include dietary buffers in the diet to reduce risk of acidosis.

Limit use of non-forage fiber sources with high fat content, such as whole cottonseed and distillers grains.

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