Nutritionist e-Network -- December 2011

 Resize text         Printer-friendly version of this article Printer-friendly version of this article

Trouble viewing this email? Click here
Dec. 16, 2011
Welcome to the Nutritionist e-Network, published by Dairy Herd Management® magazine. This issue is sponsored by Adisseo, Balchem, Chr. Hansen Animal Health & Nutrition, Elanco Animal Health, Kemin Industries, Lallemand Animal Nutrition, Milk Specialties Global Animal Nutrition, Novus International, Soy Best and Zinpro.

  Sponsored by Lallemand Animal Nutrition


Avoiding lameness: Another reason to watch body condition scores
Researchers at Cornell University have found an association between body condition score and lameness, which means it is more important than ever to advise your clients on proper body condition — especially in early lactation. In a recent study, reported at the Cornell Nutrition Conference in October, researchers found a significant association between the prevalence of sole ulcers and white-line disease in dairy cows and the thickness of the digital cushions in the cows’ hooves. “Cows in the upper quartile of digital cushion thickness had an adjusted prevalence of lameness that was 15 percentage points lower than the lower quartile,” researchers said. And, body condition scores are positively associated with digital cushion thickness. “The better condition (cows) are in, the more digital cushion they will have,” explains Rodrigo Bicalho, veterinary researcher at Cornell University. Conversely, cows with low body condition have thinner digital cushions, which sets them up for lameness problems. “If you look at your hand, the cushion in the palm of your hand is equivalent to the cushion that cows have in their foot inside the claw,” he told Dairy Herd Management. “We also have it on the bottom of our feet.” Early lactation is a critical time period. Researchers have found that thinning of the digital cushion is most prominent during the 120-day window after calving. This is when body fat reserves are summoned by the cow to make milk. Loss in thickness of the digital cushion seems to bottom out around 120 days in milk, Bicalho says, “and after that it starts to recover.” Read Bicalho’s paper from the Cornell Nutrition Conference.

Phosphorus supplementation may not be necessary for heifers
The phosphorus requirement of a dairy heifer is 0.20 to 0.35 percent of dry matter intake, depending upon bodyweight. This is similar to the concentrations of phosphorus in the feeds fed to heifers. These factors suggest that heifers don’t need much phosphorus supplementation. Yet, there are no long-term studies on phosphorus feeding of dairy heifers — until now. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin examined the effects of long-term phosphorus supplementation on heifer growth and reproductive performance, as well as health and lactation performance. Their results were published in the December 2011 Journal of Dairy Science. During the study, the researchers fed 365 Holstein and crossbred heifers diets with or without supplemental phosphorus from four to 22 months of age. Supplemented diets contained 0.40 percent phosphorus. Diets without phosphorus contained 0.30 percent phosphorus, which was the amount naturally present in feeds. They evaluated the heifers for bodyweight, external bone/frame growth, dystocia, calf bodyweight, reproductive efficiency and first-lactation performance. Here are some of the study’s findings:

  • Heifers fed no supplemental phosphorus had average daily gains similar to supplemented heifers at 170 to 410 and 410 to 650 days of age.
  • At 22 months of age, there were no differences in bodyweight, hip height, hip width, body length, heart girth, cannon bone circumference or pelvic area between heifers fed no supplemental phosphorus and supplemented heifers.
  • Blood concentrations of phosphorus did not differ at eight or 18 months of age between supplemented and non-supplemented heifers.
  • Heifers fed supplemental phosphorus excreted more phosphorus than non-supplemented heifers (29.2 vs. 24.2 grams/day).
  • Services per conception and age at pregnancy were not different between both treatment groups.
  • Dystocia scores and calf bodyweight were similar at calving between the two treatment groups.
  • First-lactation data (305-day) show milk, fat and protein yields of cows fed no supplemental phosphorus as heifers were similar to cows fed supplemental phosphorus as heifers.
  • Days open, days in milk at first breeding and services per conception also were similar.

Tell us what you think!
Take the Web poll in the "Tell Us What You Think" section of this e-newsletter. The first 20 respondents win a $25 American Express gift card.


 Sponsored by Milk Specialties Global Animal Nutrition

Q: Will greater feeding frequency necessarily result in improved dry matter intake?

The following answer is from a presentation at the Cornell Nutrition Conference by Rick Grant, director of the William H. Miner Agricultural Research Institute in Chazy, N.Y., and Tom Tylutki, CEO of Agricultural Modeling and Training Systems in Cortland, N.Y.

A: DeVries and von Keyserlingk (2005) concluded that delivery of fresh feed was the most important stimulus for dairy cows to eat compared with feed push-up and return of cows from the milking parlor. Consequently, frequency of feed delivery should be a primary factor to consider for improving prediction of DMI. Delivery of fresh TMR stimulates eating activity.
    Feed push-up is secondarily important, and pushing up feed is more important during the day rather than at night (DeVries et al., 2005).
    The management goal is to ensure adequate feed accessibility throughout the day because limited feed access often encourages more aggressive interactions at the feed bunk, greater eating rate, and may limit DMI (Grant and Albright, 2001) ...
    However, Mantysaari et al. (2006) compared once versus five times daily feeding of TMR and observed an increase in eating time, but a reduction in DMI with greater feeding frequency. Energy-corrected milk yield was unaffected, so gross efficiency of milk production was improved. However, lying time was reduced by nearly 15 percent with greater feeding frequency ...
    Although greater feeding frequency of TMR often increases eating time, the effect on DMI has been variable and often negative.
    Interestingly, in most studies where resting time was negatively impacted by greater feeding frequency, improvements in eating time did not result in greater DMI. It may be that increased feeding frequency improves DMI only if it does not negatively affect lying behavior.

(Continue by clicking below)
[To read the rest of Grant's and Tylutki's answer or leave a comment, click here]
Milk Specialties Global Animal Nutrition
 Sponsored by Soy Best

Soy Best

Prices reported the week of Dec. 12-15 by professional dairy nutritionists
or commodity brokers in five key dairy regions.

fine ground or

Soybean meal


alfalfa hay
(170-185 RFV)

  Truckload quantities delivered to the dairy ($/ton)

Eastern Wisconsin

$220a $270c $335-$338 $250

SE Pennsylvania

$283a $328d $285 $245 (limited availability)

Texas Panhandle

$245a $308 $370 $350

Southern Idaho

$266a $322 $385 $275

Central California

$269b $322 $398-$402 $300-$310 (very short supply)
a Fine ground shelled corn
Steam-rolled or steam-flaked corn

c 46 percent to 48 percent soybean meal
47.5 percent soybean meal

Sponsored by Zinpro

Help communicate your clients’ message to consumers

Editor's note: This Practice Builder was inspired by a paper that was presented at the Cornell Nutrition Conference in October by Dale Bauman and Jude Capper, professors at Cornell and Washington State University, respectively.

With the advent of the social media, such as Twitter and Facebook, dairy farmers have found new ways to reach out to consumers. Theirs is a positive message, emphasizing the nutritional qualities of milk and also how farmers take good care of the natural environment. Certainly, with regard to the environment, there is much to be said.
    “The U.S. dairy industry has a remarkable record of advances in productive efficiency and environmental stewardship over the last half-century with annual milk/cow increasing over 400 percent and a two-thirds reduction in the carbon footprint for producing a unit of milk,” point out Dale Bauman and Jude Capper, professors at Cornell University and Washington State University, respectively.
     “Overall, the advances in dairy production conferred by more efficient and environmentally friendly methods, and the nutritional and health value of dairy foods represent a ‘good news story’ for the dairy industry — one that is often not recognized by the public, and sometimes not even by those associated with the dairy industry.
    “The facts are clear and it’s important we communicate them to consumers and policy-makers,” they told those attending the recent Cornell Nutrition Conference.
    Here are some additional ideas for sharing your clients’ story.

FEED UPDATE    A look at feed inputs, including quality and availability.
 Sponsored by Novus International

Demand for whole cottonseed remains strong

Total U.S. cottonseed production in 2011 was 5.312 million tons, down from 6 million tons in 2010. Though production decreased, total cottonseed available for feed mirrors 2010’s figures at 2.975 million tons. Cottonseed demand remains strong as the overall need for feed, fiber and forage materials drives the market price.
     “The drought in Texas significantly impacted production in 2011, but we hope to see the cycle break and cottonseed prices retreat in 2012,” says Tom Wedegaertner, director of agricultural research at Cotton Inc. “As a triple nutrient supplier, whole cottonseed remains a valuable feed component, delivering energy, protein and fiber to high-producing dairy cows. It’s important to consider these benefits when examining your ration.”
     The Cottonseed Marketplace at allows producers to request cottonseed quotes from multiple merchants using one simple form. Dairy producers are encouraged to visit the web site frequently for industry news, and follow @CottonTom on Twitter for updates on cottonseed availability throughout the year.

CASE STUDY: A human error that shouldn’t have happened
 Sponsored by BASF
Editor's note: The following case was handled by Brian Limberg, dairy nutritionist from Plymouth, Wis.

Brian Limberg is very complimentary toward one of his distant relatives. The relative is a good dairyman, Limberg says, who is very observant about his cows. So, Limberg took it seriously when his relative said the cows just weren’t milking right.
    Limberg wasn’t the nutritionist at that particular farm, so he suggested that the relative consult with the current nutritionist and try to get the problem resolved. A few more months passed and Limberg got an anxious call.
    “Brian, come out here and we have to figure this out,” the relative implored.
    Limberg went out to the 50-cow dairy. The cows looked OK and there wasn’t really anything obvious that would explain the problem. So, he began assembling evidence, including feed samples, the nutritionist’s recommendations, and the feed invoice from the feed mill.
    Back at the office, Limberg noticed something didn’t seem right with the feed invoice: Some of the ingredients appeared to be at too high of an inclusion rate. “It concerned me enough that I wanted to go a step further,” he says.
    He asked to see what the nutritionist had recommended in the mix. “When I looked at the nutritionist’s recommendations and I looked at the feed bill, they didn’t match,” he says.
    Read the full story.

Sponsored by Adisseo

Amino Acid Balancing, or "Precision Nutrition" as it is sometimes referred to, is becoming increasingly important in meeting feed cost economics, environmental restrictions, herd health and component development needs. In the upcoming issues of the Nutritionist e-network, a poll will be used to explore facts and opinions in this developing science.

Click on the link below to enter your answers. The first 20 respondents will win a $25 American Express gift card. Poll results will be posted in the following issue.

This month's poll questions are as follows:

What level of crude protein do you formulate if you DO NOT balance for amino acids?
  • 18%
  • 17%
  • 16%
  • 15%

What level of crude protein do you formulate if you DO balance for amino acids?
  • 18%
  • 17%
  • 16%
  • 15%

What is the most important motivating factor for amino acid balancing? (17 responses)
Increasing lbs of milk components (58.8%)
Reducing nitrogen excretion (0%)
Reducing crude protein (23.5%)
Herd Health (11.8%)
Improved pregnancy rate (5.9%)

What is the second most important motivating factor for amino acid balancing? (17 responses)
Increasing lbs of milk components (29.4%)
Reducing nitrogen excretion (11.8%)
Reducing crude protein (29.4%)
Herd Health (17.6%)
Improved pregnancy rate (11.8%)

What is the third most important motivating factor for amino acid balancing? (17 responses)
Increasing lbs of milk components (5.9%)
Reducing nitrogen excretion (47.1%)
Reducing crude protein (11.8%)
Herd Health (23.5%)
Improved pregnancy rate (11.8%)

CORRECTION: In the November issue of Nutritionist e-Network, there was an error in the October poll results. Below is the corrected version.

Which software package works best for balancing amino acids? (22 responses)
Most popular answers:

Brill-Feed Management Systems (13.6%)
CPM (18.2%)
DALEX (13.6%)
Other (22.7%)

 Sponsored by Chr. Hansen Animal Health & Nutrition
Chr. Hansen

Florida Ruminant Nutrition Symposium
Jan. 31-Feb. 1 at Best Western Gateway Grand Hotel, Gainesville, Fla. More information.

Southwest Nutrition and Management Conference
Feb. 23-24 at Tempe Mission Palms Hotel and Conference Center, Tempe, Ariz. More information.

Western Canadian Dairy Seminar
March 6-9 at the Sheraton Red Deer in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada. More information.

Submit an upcoming event (all events listing subject to approval).

 Sponsored by Kemin Industries

A more precise look at fatty acids in feedstuffs

Editor’s note: The following column was provided by Dairyland Labs in Arcadia, Wis.

In previous articles for the Nutritionist e-Network newsletter, we discussed the differences in fat analysis by Ether Extract (EE) and Total Fatty Acids by Gas Chromatography (GC). Mainly, we’ve pointed out that Ether Extract includes some non-fat components like glycerol, chlorophyll, and urea. Another major advantage of GC is that we can obtain information about the individual fatty acids within a feedstuff.
     These individual fatty acids have varying effects on rumen microbes. In general, the more unsaturated fatty acids we add to a lactating diet, the more likely we are to cause milkfat depression. The degree of unsaturation can also be an indicator of how rumen-friendly a fatty acid will be.
     With an improved fatty acid reference method (GC) and advances in NIR calibration software, we can now predict monounsaturated (MUFA), polyunsaturated (PUFA), and rumen unsaturated (RUFA) fatty acids very accurately by NIR. While most ration-balancing programs do not currently have inputs for these fatty acid groups, understanding the fatty acid profiles of individual feedstuffs can help nutritionists and producers understand why particular feeds increase the risk of milkfat depression.
     Look for the addition of MUFAs, PUFAs, and RUFAs to your distiller’s reports in January and additional advancements in fat analyses from Dairyland Laboratories Inc. in spring 2012.
* Please note, it may be worth double checking your ration balancer fatty acid calculation as the traditional EE-1 does not apply to distillers grains, and for model users TFA% of EE should be 95-100 percent.

Dairy Herd Management

Dairy Herd

Dairy Herd Management, 10901 W 84th Terr, Suite 300, Lenexa, KS 66214
© Copyright 2011
Vance Publishing Corp. All Rights Reserved.    
Contact Editor  | Unsubscribe from this e-newsletter

Comments (0) Leave a comment 

e-Mail (required)


characters left

Farmall® 100A Series

From field to feedlot, you need a tractor that can multi-task as well as you do. Case IH Farmall™ 100A ... Read More

View all Products in this segment

View All Buyers Guides