If your fresh- and high-producing cows have a sharp loss in body condition after calving, a greater occurrence of metabolic disorders and delayed resumption of estrus, then you might want to assess energy levels in your dry-cow diet. Here are some tips for formulating controlled energy diets from experts at the University of Illinois and the Miner Agricultural Research Institute in Chazy, N.Y.:
• A high-straw, controlledenergy diet works well if you are feeding corn silage as the main forage because straw and corn silage have a lot of characteristics that complement one another.
• Wheat straw should be chopped to < 2-inch length particles, which is key to prevent sorting.
• The energy density of the diet should be 0.59 – 0.63 Mcal net energylactation per pound of dry matter. To accomplish this, target forage NDF at 40 to 50 percent of dry matter or a daily intake of 10 to 12 pounds.
• Keep crude protein content at 12 to 14 percent of dry matter with > 1000 g/d of metabolizable protein.
• Aim for a starch content of 12 to 16 percent of dry matter and a diet dry matter content < 55 percent.
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