Maintaining Full Ration Despite High Corn Prices
When corn prices are high and milk prices are low, farmers will think twice about what to feed their cows. It is very tempting to take cows off feed but that is not idea as it takes too long to bring them back into full production.
Feeding Dairy Cows
Good news is that dairy cows can utilise forages and byproduct feeds.
Bad news is the price of corn increases the price of alternative feedstuffs such as distillers grains, corn gluten, alfalfa as they are in the same market.
Farmers need to look at how much corn they should be feeding.
Generally, 24 - 26% starch is recommended. Producers can get that from corn silage or shelled corn.
As prices increases, sugar becomes an alternative that can feed rumen bacteria (aim for 4 - 6% in total ration dry matter).
Another source is soluble fiber or fiber rumen microbes can break down in the rumen (aim for 10 - 12% of total ration dry matter).
Although corn prices are high, it is still a good buy as compared to other feedstuffs.
Another thing to be on the radar of farmers are corn distillers grain and corn gluten feed.
It is recommended to feed around 5 pounds of distillers grains dry matter per cow per day. It ends up being about 10% of the ration and the price works out very economically.
As a conclusion, although price of corn is projected to remain high, farmers should still maintain full ration as it takes too long to bring them back into full production.