How often should you sample feedstuffs?

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Forage sampling and analysis are the backbone of dairy nutrition and ration formulation. These tools have also become an integral part of forage contracting, pricing and inventory control programs used by dairy farmers and their consultants. As a result, traditional forage sampling and analysis guidelines may not always be adequate.

Because feeding the proper amount of dry matter of each feed ingredient in your ration is so important, experts at the University of Wisconsin recommend that the dry matter (DM) content of silages be determined as often as possible.

For many farms, that means sampling forages once to three times per week.

In most instances, weekly or batch sampling of wet by-product feeds for DM content is adequate, according to a recently updated “Focus on Forage” article by Randy Shaver, University of Wisconsin extension dairy scientist, Pat Hoffman, University of Wisconsin extension dairy scientist and Paul Dyk, University of Wisconsin extension dairy and livestock agent in Fond du Lac County.

In addition, they note, when a change in silage moisture content is noticeable by sight or touch, the DM content of the silage or by-product feed should be re-determined immediately.

But there’s more to the story. Get more sampling advice.

Source: University of Wisconsin

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