Feed lower quality hay carefully

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Adverse weather conditions during hay harvest this summer made for some questionable forage quality. If you’re forced to feed this less-than-desirable forage, here are a few tips from Bill Weiss, dairy nutritionist at Ohio State University, on how to get the best results:

1. Analyze your forage. Alfalfa that scores greater than 44 percent NDF and grasses that score above 53 percent NDF can reduce milk production.

2.If possible, feed lower-quality forages to heifers and late-lactation cows. Feed early-lactation
and transition cows the highest-quality forage available.

3. If NDF concentrations are high, reduce the amount of forage in your ration, but make sure cow diets still contain proper levels of NDF. Rations with greater than 25 percent of dry matter as forage NDF usually reduce intake.

4. Reduce the amount of poor-quality forage fed due to bad fermentation.

5. Don’t feed moldy silage to high-producing cows. And, reduce levels fed to other animals.

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