Nutritionist e-Network - November 2012

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Nov. 16, 2012
Welcome to the Nutritionist e-Network, published by Dairy Herd Management® magazine. This issue is sponsored by Danisco, Elanco Animal Health, Kemin Industries, Lallemand Animal Nutrition, Milk Specialties Global Animal Nutrition, Novus International, Soy Best and Zinpro Corp.

  Sponsored by Lallemand Animal Nutrition

Extra trace minerals may pay big dividends for early-lactation cows
Hypocalcemia, immunosuppresson, negative energy balance — they’re all part of the early-lactation experience. But what about trace mineral deficiency? Do early-lactation cows experience this problem, as well? There isn’t much research on this, according to Rodrigo Bicalho, assistant professor of dairy production medicine at Cornell University. His hypothesis is yes, cows are trace-mineral deficient in early lactation, particularly the first seven days postpartum. So, he set out to prove this hypothesis in a research experiment with more than 1,500 Holstein cows from four commercial dairy farms in upstate New York. Treatment cows received three shots of a commercial trace mineral supplement. Injections were given at dryoff, 15 days pre-partum and 35 days post-partum. This was on top of the fact the farms were already providing trace minerals through the feed. Control cows didn’t receive any injections. It turned out there were some significant differences. Treatment cows had a significantly lower incidence of clinical mastitis, clinical endometritis and stillbirths than the control cows. And, “the older cows had a bigger benefit of treatment compared to the younger cows,” Bicalho told those attending the Dairy Cattle Reproduction Council meeting in Sacramento, Calif., in early November. He also pointed out that injections are a supplemental strategy and should not be considered a replacement for trace minerals in the feed. “This should be considered on top of a good feeding strategy,” Bicalho said. With the injections, treatment cows received trace minerals in excess of NRC recommendations. The research is now under review for publication in the Journal of Dairy Science.

A potential cost-savings
When profit margins get tight, it’s not uncommon for dairy operations to look for opportunities to cut costs. An area that may offer some cost-saving benefits are bred heifer diets. Forages in the bred heifer diets can be rearranged and potentially offer significant savings, says Jason Leonard, calf and heifer specialist with Purina Animal Nutrition. “It’s not uncommon for bred heifers to be fed free-choice corn silage and grass hay along with 5 pounds of grain,” says Leonard. “Not only is this diet expensive, it can create over-conditioned heifers with post-calving problems.” Corn silage hybrids have evolved over the years and have generally gotten higher in quality to the point that they are too energy-dense to feed to bred heifers as their main forage source, he explains. Leonard notes that a simple way to fix this problem and save money is to feed a high-quality hay, haylage or small grain silage in place of the corn silage. These forages, when made correctly, can supply 100 percent of the energy and protein needs of the bred heifer without the use of purchased grains or proteins. A diet like this normally only requires the purchase of a mineral pack that may have a feeding rate of 0.10 to 0.50 pounds, depending on the mineral make-up of the forage. “If you are tight on forage supplies and buying grain or commodities is easier to manage, a limit-feeding approach should be looked at,” he says. University research on this type of feeding program has shown results while saving the farm money on heifer inputs. View Penn State’s research and suggestions for limit-feeding heifers.


 Sponsored by Milk Specialties Global Animal Nutrition

Q: Can productivity be maintained when feeding higher-forage diets versus diets that are closer to a 50:50 forage-to-concentrate ratio?

The following is is excerpted from a paper that Rick Grant, president of the Miner Institute, presented in October at the Cornell Nutrition Conference.

A: There is refreshed interest in feeding higher-forage diets to dairy cows. We are now in what seems to be an era of high-priced corn and other feed commodities, which encourages feeding of lower-starch diets. We can achieve lower dietary starch content by either replacing starch with fermentable carbohydrates from non-forage fiber sources or by feeding higher forage-to-concentrate ratios. With higher-forage diets, there are the long-recognized environmental benefits and the beneficial health consequences of feeding higher forage-NDF diets to cows.
    Now, more than ever, we require nutrition models that do a good job of predicting forage digestion and passage as we formulate diets containing higher proportions of forage.

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

Soy Best

Prices reported the week of Nov. 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

$265a $460c $329-$345 $250

SE Pennsylvania

$325a $540d $280 NA

Texas Panhandle

NA NA $315 NA

Southern Idaho

$322a $542 $385 $235

Central California

$318b $507 $390-$395 $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: What one producer looks for in a nutritionist
Sponsored by Zinpro Corp.


Editor’s note: The following Practice Builder is based on an interview with Gary Gibson, dairy producer from Ogden, Utah.

What does Ron Gibson look for in a nutritionist?
     As a dairyman, he must deal with a number of issues on an everyday basis. So, he wants someone who understands the operation and the problems that can occur — basically, someone who can step into his shoes, so to speak.
     “It’s easy for a nutritionist to live in his own little world” and come up with the perfect ration, Gibson says. But, in the real world, there are a number of constraints that can alter the outcome, such as how the ration is being mixed and delivered to the cows.
     Nutritionists need to help find the bottlenecks, Gibson says. That, in turn, can help relieve some of the load on the producer. “I like it when people take these things off my shoulders,” he says.
     Again, it boils down to the nutritionist’s familiarity with the dairy.
     “If the nutritionist has a relationship with the feeder, then the time he has to spend with me is cut in half,” Gibson says.
    Gibson runs a 1,500-cow operation near Ogden, Utah.

FEED UPDATE: Cottonseed supply up 10% compared to 2011
Sponsored by Novus International


Total U.S. cottonseed production in 2012 is forecast to reach 5.913 million tons, up from 5.37 million tons in 2011, a 10.1 percent increase, according to the November Crop Production Report from the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service.
     In Texas, home to half the nation’s cotton acres, growers harvested 67 percent more cotton in 2012 compared with 2011. Last year’s Texas crop was decimated by drought.
     “Across the Cotton Belt, the 2012 cotton crop enjoyed good growing conditions and escaped the wrath of late-season hurricanes, including Hurricane Sandy,” says Tom Smith, a cottonseed merchandiser at Cape & Son, Abilene, Texas. “Cotton quality is very good and ginning has gone extremely fast this season. Thus, prime feed grade cottonseed is readily available.”
     Overall, 43 percent of the cotton crop was reported in good to excellent condition, according to the USDA report, a rating that Smith describes as “outstanding.”
     According to Tom Wedegaertner, director of agricultural research at Cotton Incorporated, demand for whole cottonseed remains strong as the overall need for feed, fiber and forage materials drives the market price.
     “Cottonseed has been a relatively good value this fall, so we are encouraging dairy producers to check prices and consider booking a portion of their needs to keep this feedstuff in the rations of their high-producing dairy cows.”
     The Cottonseed Marketplace at allows producers to request cottonseed quotes from multiple merchants using one simple form. Dairy producers also can visit the web site for industry news, and follow @CottonTom on Twitter for updates on cottonseed availability throughout the year.

CASE STUDY: Finding opportunities in a herd whose milk production had stalled
Sponsored by Danisco
Editor's note: Martha Baker, of Amhurst, N.Y., dairy nutrition specialist with Purina Animal Nutrition, handled the following case.

It was a well-managed herd. Cow comfort was good; the forages good; the herd average a respectable 78 pounds.
     But the herd had stalled out. Production just couldn’t get past the high-70s, low-80s and the herd nutritionist began to wonder if he was being too conservative with the rations.
     The nutritionist had heard Martha Baker talk at a meeting about amino acid balancing and called her in to trouble-shoot.
     On the initial walk-through, Baker didn’t see any obvious problems.
     But that can be a problem in itself. “Because there is not something screaming for improvement, it can be a problem in spotting where the opportunities are and, in turn, convincing the producer to make an investment to realize those opportunities,” Baker says.
     So, she started off asking two questions:
  • Are we getting as much energy into these animals as we can? The answer was “yes.”
  • Do we have adequate forage and fiber levels maintaining a healthy rumen? The answer to that was “yes,” as well.
When those two questions were answered, Baker suggested that they look at the amino acid profile. Using a ration balancing software program, Baker was able to determine that the metabolizable lysine level was sitting at 179 grams of intake per head per day. That wasn’t necessarily good or bad, but it did tell Baker there was an opportunity for improvement.
    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.

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

WHAT'S NEW IN THE LAB: A DHIA tool for a nutritionist’s toolbox: reports on-demand
 Sponsored by Kemin Industries
By Erinn Evangelista, Dairy Records Management Systems


Have you ever wished you could access a specific DHIA report for a client, but the herd is not signed up for the report? Fear not — a solution is available on the Dairy Records Management Systems (DRMS) website. The Reports On-Demand tool enables you to immediately access many DHI reports with your client’s actual herd data. All herds with DHI records processed at DRMS are available.
    If you already have an account with DRMS, simply log into your account and go to the Reports On-Demand link on the Consultant Menu. If you do not have an account, one can be set up for you in a matter of minutes. Select a report, enter the herd’s RAC (remote access code) and within seconds, you’ll have a PDF of the report for that herd’s most recent test. The producer does not even have to be enrolled on the report!
     Select from more than 60 different reports, including the Executive Analysis series with multiple pages, graphs, highlighted data and information based on the latest research to meet current management needs. You will also find access to SCC and MUN test results; Genetics and Reproduction reports, as well as inventories and summaries.
    Read the full story.

Dairy Herd

Vance Publishing Corp.

Copyright 2012 Vance Publishing Corporation, 400 Knightsbridge Pkwy., Lincolnshire, IL 60069.
All Rights Reserved.

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