Consistency is crucial to cows. Milking time, udder prep, feed delivery, animal care and handling, reproduction and nutrients delivered in the ration should be kept consistent throughout the day.
Consistency Is Key
Lactating cows are like elite athletes. They need a structured routine for activities and precise nutrition to maximise performance and health.
Consistency of feed ingredients plays a big role in the health and performance of the cows.
Diets are formulated in order to minimise the risk of an adverse health event and to allow cows to achieve their genetic potential.
Any variable in quality, digestibility and nutrient content of feed ingredients may affect animal performance negatively especially milk production.
Diets are no longer balanced just for crude protein now.
They are balanced for metabolised protein (MP), amino acids (AA), rumen degradable protein (RDP) and rumen un-degradable protein (RUP).
Products such as bypass protein or rumen protected amino acids will deliver the nutrients beyond the rumen of the intestine.
The amount of crude protein formulated in the diet for lactating cows have now declined from 18% to 16% today.
Milk production has increased and environmental risk from excretion of nitrogen has reduced.
Formulating diets for MP, RDP, RUP and AA instead of just crude protein makes it even more important to minimise inconsistency in feed ingredients.
Therefore, it is crucial to buy commercial feeds from a manufacturer with an effective quality control program.
For example, when feeding bypass protein, if the % of RUP is lower than expected, you could lose milk production. On the other hand, if the RUP is greater than expected, you could short the cow on RDP and lose milk.
When unsure about your ingredients, it is important to test the nutrient profile yourself to account for the variability.
In conclusion, cows need precision in their diets. Any variability can have negative effects. It is the farmer's job to ensure consistency in order to improve overall health and productivity of the cows.