Nutritionist e-Network - October 2012

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Oct 19, 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, Land O'Lakes Purina Feed, Milk Specialties Global Animal Nutrition, Novus International, Nutrition Physiology Company, Soy Best and Zinpro Corp.

  Sponsored by Lallemand Animal Nutrition

The power of meta-analysis
In the January 1998 issue of Dairy Herd Management, an initial effort was made to show the positive benefit of yeast culture on milk production. The article referenced eight studies that had been completed to date, with most of the studies showing a benefit from yeast supplementation. To read that story and see the studies, click here. Now, things have become a lot more sophisticated. A meta-analysis has been completed on the effects of feeding yeast culture, drawing upon an extensive review of literature. Thirty-six separate studies are included. In this month’s edition of the Journal of Dairy Science, the authors point to the power of the meta-analysis approach. Meta analysis provides the complete breadth of information relating to a specific treatment (and specific product) that can reduce the uncertainty often seen in small individual studies, the authors said. And, by the way, the meta-analysis did affirm the value of a commercially available yeast culture. Read the abstract.

Yeast-derived protein as a substitute for soybean meal
Everyone knows about the high cost of soybean meal. Prices have exceeded $500 per ton in many parts of the U.S. And, this has prompted people to look for alternatives. One alternative may be yeast-derived microbial protein. In this month’s edition of the Journal of Dairy Science, researchers from South Dakota State University and Alltech Inc. report that substituting a portion of soybean meal with yeast-derived microbial protein increased the percentage of total solids in milk and tended to improve energy-corrected and fat-corrected milk production in high-producing dairy cows consuming high-forage diets. The authors did acknowledge that further investigation is needed, and theirs was a nutritional comparison rather than an economic comparison. Read the abstract.

What causes heifer weights to be so variable?
Canadian researchers took a look at just how variable heifer growth rates are between farms. To do this, they measured the heart girth circumference of 12- to 17-month-old heifers from 33 different farms in British Columbia. They converted the values to estimate bodyweight. They also analyzed the effect of several factors, such as weaning method, time between weaning and moving to a new pen, size of the heifer group, frequency of regrouping heifers and times per day heifers were given fresh feed, on bodyweight. Only one variable was able to account for among-farm variation in heifer bodyweight, and that was average weight gain during the pre-weaning phase (i.e., 0 to 2 months of age). “These results show considerable among farm variation in heifer weight gains, indicating that some farms are doing well, while others could improve performance,” say the researchers. “Farms able to rear faster-growing heifers were also rearing faster-growing calves, suggesting that management of milk-fed calves is especially important.” The results were reported in July at the American Dairy Science Association’s annual meeting in Phoenix.


 Sponsored by Milk Specialties Global Animal Nutrition

Q: How can you help your clients with water quality?

The following is based on a presentation this week at the Cornell Nutrition Conference.

A: Abundant, high-quality drinking water is the most important essential nutrient for dairy cattle, points out David Beede, dairy nutritionist at Michigan State University.
     Beede offers the following suggestions for monitoring water quality on your clients’ farms.
     There are two basic questions to explore.
  1. Is water intake normal given the physiological state of the animals and the environment?
  2. Are there some anti-quality factors (or pollutants) present in the water that are affecting how the cows consume it?
In assessing the first question, it is important to measure water consumption against the cows’ daily needs.

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

Soy Best

Prices reported the week of Oct. 15-18 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

$284a $476c $327-$360 $250

SE Pennsylvania

$320a $541d $290 (new crop) $190

Texas Panhandle

NA NA $365 NA

Southern Idaho

$326a $530 $390 $235

Central California

$321b $522 $392-$400 $265
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: Leave the cell phone in the car!
Sponsored by Zinpro Corp.


Editor’s note: The following Practice Builder pertains to Gary Sherwood, an independent dairy nutritionist from Verona, N.Y.

When nutritionist Gary Sherwood drives onto a farm to meet with a client, he wants to give the client his undivided attention.
     Among other things, that means leaving the cell phone in the car.
     He’s mindful that cell phones and other gadgetry can be distracting and get in the way of effective communication.
     On rare occasions when he forgets to leave the cell phone in the car, and has it on his person while talking to a client, he won’t answer it if it rings. That has prompted some clients to joke, “That’s why you don’t answer the phone if I call you.” But he tries to answer calls as promptly as possible — again, not interrupting the immediate matters at hand.
     “We get so many distractions today,” Sherwood says. “And then we lose what’s important and what’s not important,” he says. “You can’t prioritize what you should be doing because there are so many distractions.”
     The importance of this was driven home in a news report that Sherwood saw on Oct. 16. The report suggested that children get at least 10 hours of sleep and, on top of that, a certain amount of quiet time away from television and other gadgetry.

FEED UPDATE: Corn yield now projected at 122 bushels per acre
Sponsored by Novus International

Editor's note: The following Feed Update was written by Carey Gillam, Reuters News Service.

According to the USDA’s Crop Production report on Oct. 11, corn production is forecast at 10.7 billion bushels, down slightly from the September forecast and down 13 percent from 2011. This represents the lowest production in the United States since 2006.
     Based on conditions as of October 1, yields are expected to average 122.0 bushels per acre, down 0.8 bushel from the September forecast and 25.2 bushels below the 2011 average.
     If realized, this will be the lowest average yield since 1995. Area harvested for grain is forecast at 87.7 million acres, up less than 1 percent from the September forecast and up 4 percent from 2011. Acreage updates were made in several States based on administrative data.
     Read the USDA report.

CASE STUDY: He didn’t just accept an increase in milk yield, he verified it
Sponsored by Danisco
Editor's note: Carl Old, independent dairy nutritionist from Le Grand, Calif., handled the following case.

A dairyman in eastern New Mexico had been buying milo from one of the local grain elevators. He bought it whole rather than steam-flaked because he had a grinder at his farm, and by grinding his own he was able to save in the neighborhood of $20 per ton.
     But one day the grinder broke, and it was going to take a considerable amount of time to get replacement parts. So, the dairyman went to a feed mill, bought steam-flaked milo and fed it to his cows instead of whole milo.
     Fairly quickly, milk production in the herd went up by 4 pounds per cow per day. At that rate, after subtracting out the higher feed cost, he was coming out ahead by 40 cents per cow per day.
     The herd’s nutritionist, Carl Old, was glad to hear that the cows were producing more, but he wanted verification.
     “As a nutritionist, you have to look at it and ask how do I account for this difference?” he says.
     With milk yield up by 4 pounds, on average, it meant higher component yields even if the milkfat and protein percentages stayed the same.
     To achieve higher protein yield, the cows needed to increase microbial protein synthesis in the rumen.
    Read the full story.

 Sponsored by Land O'Lakes Purina Feed

Land O'Lakes Purina Feed

Penn State Dairy Nutrition Workshop
Nov. 12-14 at the Holiday Inn in Grantville, Pa. 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: TMR-D for measuring digestion
 Sponsored by Kemin Industries
Editor’s note: The following information was provided by Rock River Laboratory in Watertown, Wis.


Energy for gains or milk production hinges on TMR Total Digestible Nutrient (TDN). Nutritionists measure feed nutrient contents then multiply by predicted digestibilities to predict TDN. Measuring nutrient content is relatively straightforward, but predicting feed and diet digestibilities (for troubleshooting or use in our nutrition models) is not. Historically, we’ve used ADF-based equations, lab-bench (in vitro), fecal starch, and even rumen incubation (in situ) estimates to formulate diets or troubleshoot nutrition challenges. We’re constantly striving for a more accurate approach.
     Universities have demonstrated the most accurate approach: measuring digestion through cows using TMR and fecal samples with indigestible marker techniques. These digestion measures are very meaningful; however, they are costly and have not been routinely viable. Scientists use expensive markers that laboratories cannot measure quickly or cost- effectively. This changed, however, with a novel commercial-marker approach based on work published by Professor Randy Shaver’s group at the University of Wisconsin.
     In September 2012, Rock River Lab’s team co-authored a paper in the Journal of Dairy Science describing a way to routinely measure indigestible markers and measure digestion through commercial dairy cows. The paper described how using an alternative marker, indigestible NDF measured using Combs-Goeser approach, can be used to accurately calculate digestion. To our knowledge, this is the first commercial-digestion approach that has been directly related to milk production.
     The technique as described in the Journal of Dairy Science is now available commercially for your herds. This new analysis package, titled TMR-D, is available exclusively through Rock River Laboratory and Rock River Laboratory-West. Using TMR and fecal samples you collect, we’re able calculate digestion through commercial high-producing cows and return results in a short period of time. Results can be used proactively to benchmark diet performance during great performance or find new margin opportunities. Results can also be used reactively to troubleshoot poor performance and react to forage or ingredient changes faster by identifying the poor performing nutrient.
     For a webinar and more information on TMR-D, visit or contact John Goeser at


Vance Publishing Corp.

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

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