Nutritionist e-Network - January 2013

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Jan. 18, 2013
Diamond V
Welcome to the Nutritionist e-Network, published by Dairy Herd Management® magazine. This issue is sponsored by Danisco, Diamond V, Lallemand Animal Nutrition, Milk Specialties Global Animal Nutrition, Novus International, Soy Best and Zinpro Corp.

  Sponsored by Lallemand Animal Nutrition

Consistency in rations can help reduce competition at feed bunk
We are learning more about the feeding behavior of dairy animals housed indoors. Among the obvious conclusions:

  • Cows are motivated to eat when fresh feed is delivered to the feed bunk.
  • Cows will often sort through a TMR for the grain component.
But what if there is an unexpected variation in energy density in the TMR delivered to the bunk? What effect will that have on the feeding behavior of heifers? In a recent experiment, researchers at the University of British Columbia put 32 heifers into four groups of eight. The groups were exposed to three different TMRs — low-energy, moderate-energy or high-energy — in different feeding stations at different points in time. When heifers were exposed to a higher-energy, higher-quality ration than the one they had previously experienced, they spent more time at feeding station and were less likely to change to another feeding station. This provides insight into the strategies cattle use to learn about their environment, the researchers say in the January 2013 edition of the Journal of Dairy Science. “A key finding of this study was that competitive interactions increase when TMR quality is non-uniform across the feed bunk, reflecting the motivation of individual heifers for obtaining access to the higher-quality feed,” they said. Consistency in feed bunk management will help reduce competitive interactions and ultimately help ensure that the animals in a group have similar opportunities to obtain access to the intended diet, they add. Read the abstract.

Brown midrib corn silage can result in longer peak milk yield
We’ve all heard the benefits of brown midrib (BMR) corn silage, owing to higher digestibility. It’s presumed that feeding BMR corn silage with a high concentration of alfalfa hay will allow cows to consume more dry matter around peak lactation than they would with conventional corn silage. Can this result in longer peak milk production? Yes, it appears that way, according to a research paper in the January 2013 edition of the Journal of Dairy Science. In an experiment, feeding BMR silage with a high concentration of alfalfa hay did maintain more bodyweight, but did not affect milk production through peak lactation. However, cows fed the BMR diet post peak lactation consumed more feed and maintained longer peak milk yield, leading to greater overall milk production and milk protein yield, researchers said. It has something to do with body fat mobilization. Feeding BMR silage in high-forage diets can have beneficial effects to lessen body fat mobilization in fresh cows without limiting dry matter intake around peak lactation, the researchers said. Further research is needed to examine effects of feeding BMR silage on energy partitioning in transition cows with analysis of non-esterified fatty acids and beta hydroxybutyrate to determine physiological effects of BMR silage on body fat mobilization in early lactation and bodyweight gain in later lactation, they add. Read the abstract.


 Sponsored by Milk Specialties Global Animal Nutrition

Q: What are some of the nutritional and management strategies during the dry period to reduce negative energy balance and improve fertility in the next lactation?

The following answer is excerpted from a presentation made by Ron Butler, dairy scientist at Cornell University, at the recent Cornell Nutrition Conference.

A: During late pregnancy, insulin resistance in adipose tissue contributes to increasing plasma non-esterified fatty acid (NEFA) concentrations. And subsequent oxidation of NEFA by the liver is the cause of decreasing dry matter intake as cows approach calving.
    Studies over the past few years suggest that energy nutrition during the dry period interacts with insulin resistance during the late prepartum period. Excess energy intake not only during the close-up period, but also during the far-off dry period, exacerbates insulin resistance.

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

Soy Best

Prices reported the week of Jan. 14-17 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

$280a $430c $325-$345 $280

SE Pennsylvania

$300a $468d $290 $210

Texas Panhandle

NA $464 $350 NA

Southern Idaho

$310a $470 $370 $240

Central California

$326b $481 $380-$391 $265-$275
a Fine ground shelled corn
Steam-rolled or steam-flaked corn

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

PRACTICE BUILDER: Strategizing with clients: There’s an app for that
Sponsored by Zinpro Corp.


Editor’s note: This Practice Builder is from Naji Nassereddine, dairy nutritionist from Chandler, Ariz.

Dairy nutritionist Naji Nassereddine has found a new tool to use when he wants to strategize with clients, set new goals, or just get them in a “teachable moment.”
     “When I see customers who wonder where they stand as far as feed cost and production, I pull out my iPad and do some benchmarking,” he says.
     His iPad or cell phone then pulls up the DairyCents Mobile App from Penn State University.
     After plugging in the clients’ feed ingredients, prices paid for feed ingredients, Class III milk price (or even the mailbox price) and other information, Nassereddine is able to show them how they compare to a national database in terms of income over feed cost.
     “Doing so has helped my customers make the necessary adjustments that they felt they needed to meet or beat the base average,” he says.
     One way to improve income over feed cost is to produce more milk. If that’s the course they want to take, “we look at bottlenecks that could be limiting production and try to address it accordingly,” he says.
FEED UPDATE: Weather continues to dictate crop prices in 2013
Sponsored by Novus International


The top two factors influencing crop markets in 2013 will be the weather and the potential for a rebound in demand, which diminished last year with drought-driven high prices, Chad Hart told growers at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 94th Annual Meeting. Still, despite so many uncertainties, prices for corn and soybeans will remain historically high, according to Hart, associate professor and Extension economist at Iowa State University.
     “We’re not done feeling the effects of the weather system that’s hit us over the past couple of years,” the grain markets specialist said during AFBF’s session on the outlook for corn, soybeans, wheat and cotton. Of the decline in corn demand, Hart said it had to happen.
     “When we saw the drought coming, prices went up, demand went down. The question for 2013 is, can we move forward?”
     Hart said a slight increase in demand for corn for feed suggests we can push past the pinch of high prices.
    In addition, better-than-expected yields and the moderating of prices bode well for upping demand.
    Although the corn export market has been cut in half because of higher prices, growers are taking little notice with domestic feed needs driving much of the demand, according to Hart. On the other hand, climbing prices have had little effect on international demand for soybeans, which got a little boost from late-season rain.
    Read the full story.

CASE STUDY: Instant feedback for nutritionists!
Sponsored by Danisco
The following case study was handled by Kurt Breunig, dairy production consultant at Land O’ Lakes.

The cows at a Wisconsin dairy were sorting through the feed aggressively enough that you could see obvious “holes” along the feed bunk.
     So, the farm added a molasses product to the ration — the last product added to the TMR mixer — to try to wet the feed and have it stick together more.
     The sorting problem did abate and eventually butterfat and milk production went up, as well.
     When the cows aren’t sorting as much, they get a more balanced diet, which has a positive impact on their health and production, especially the fresh cows.
     In the past, people could look at the feed bunk and say there are fewer “holes” showing up there, so it must be working. The butterfat and milk production confirmations would take a few more weeks.
     In this case, the producers noticed immediately that there was an increase in rumination activity. (The cows wear rumination tags around their necks with an embedded microphone that records how many minutes a day they are ruminating.)
    Read the full story.


Dairy Herd

Florida Ruminant Nutrition Symposium
Feb. 5-6 at the Hilton University of Florida Conference Center, Gainesville, Fla. More information.

World Ag Expo
Feb. 12-14 at the International Agri-Center, Tulare, Calif. More information.

Southwest Nutrition and Management Conference
Feb. 21-22 at the Tempe Mission Palms Hotel and Conference Center, Tempe, Ariz. More information.

Western Canadian Dairy Seminar
March 5-8 at the Sheraton Red Deer, Red Deer, Alberta, Canada. More information.

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

WHAT'S NEW IN THE LAB: Expect variety of mycotoxin issues in corn-based feed ingredients
Editor’s note: The following information was provided by Max Hawkins of Alltech.


Due to extreme drought and increased temperatures, the 2012 corn crop created a perfect environment for Aspergillis mold to flourish and to further produce aflatoxins. As discussed in earlier media reports, this created a concern for aflatoxin issues, especially with dairy producers. Aflatoxin B1 is regulated at 20 ppb in the feed and its associated derivative aflatoxin M1 in the milk at 0.5 ppb in the milk.
     In July, Alltech’s North American Harvest Analysis started running samples through its 37+ Lab in Winchester, Ky., in order to identify mold and mycotoxin concerns with the corn crop. Aflatoxin was found, but not on a wide basis. It tended to be more regionalized. The survey did, however, identify a more wide-ranging effect with other mycotoxins. Fumonisin was identified in almost 100 percent of all samples over the corn-growing region. Other mycotoxins found throughout the Corn Belt were DON, T-2 and penicilliums.
     Among the corn and corn silage samples, the greatest percentage contained multiple mycotoxins. Ninety-two percent of all samples contained anywhere from two to 10 mycotoxins. This indicates that if a dairy producer only tries to control aflatoxin, there is the potential for remaining mycotoxins present that can also affect the cow. These effects can include reduced feed intake, gut irritation, reduced milk production, reproductive inefficiency and a lowered immune status.
     The key take-home message from the 2012 corn crop: Expect a wide variety of mycotoxin issues in all corn-based feed ingredients.

Dairy Herd


Copyright 2013 Vance Publishing Corporation, 400 Knightsbridge Pkwy., Lincolnshire, IL 60069.
All Rights Reserved.

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