Alternative Formulation Strategies Need Great Ingredients
Producers are always trying to lower input costs, and when 70% or more of these costs relate to feed, it’s not surprising that various strategies are examined to produce meat, milk and eggs in a more efficient or productive way.
This is particularly accurate for the dairy industry as we’ve documented here on the Insta-Pro® blog for years (here, here and here). Dairy producers and nutritionists have started turning to an underutilized resource on many operations – fresh forages. Rather than solely producing silages, hay, and other forages, and storing these ingredients until use in a TMR formulation, fresh forages are harvested and used within days. In some places, this means that the use of pastureland and forage crops, harvested at designated times of the year, can be expanded – freshly-chopped grasses and legumes can be cut and used in between the more-typical forage production cycles.
Recent nutrition research based on feeding fresh forages, blended with typical dairy TMR’s, indicates that this can be a viable option, at least to a point. The main nutritional drawbacks of using fresh forages including a low dry matter content (another way of saying high moisture); lower crude protein; and reduced energy for lactation compared with a typical TMR formulation. Not surprisingly, when fresh forages were included at levels greater than 29% of total dry matter intake, the productivity of dairy cows declined. The production of fluid milk, milk fat, and milk protein all declined beyond this point because the fresh forages diluted other nutrients to levels that reduced performance. However, fresh forages are far less expensive to feed. So, what to do?
The answer is to use great ingredients in your TMR formulations, and potentially use more than 29% fresh forages to save even more money. High-shear dry extruded soy meal, and more appropriate for dairy, the partially-deoiled version (ExPress® soy meal), contain highly-digestible rumen by-pass protein and rumen by-pass fat – both of which will help when using higher levels of fresh forages. As mentioned, fresh forage use will dilute protein, energy, and nutrients in general (more moisture comes along with the fresh forages). Therefore, great ingredients, like soy from high-shear dry extrusion, will help make up the nutrient deficits.
Contact us and we can help you lower your dairy input costs by including great ingredients.