Often times, as soon as the tractor starts, all the cows would rush to the feedbunk waiting impatiently as if they have not been fed for days.
The situation described above is a very common and all farmers are encouraged to consider more frequent feed deliveries or pushups. It is important to keep food in front of your cows at all times to ensure high milk quality from the beginning. Here are 4 benefits o frequent feed push up:
1) Higher DMI
The most important factor affecting milk production is dry matter intake (DMI).
The more your cows eat, the more milk they produce.
Equally important is the ration consistency as inconsistent ration will decrease dry matter intake, causing lower milk production.
Regardless of how well your farm is at mixing and delivering total mixed ration (TMR) to the feedbunk, it will still be sorted by the first cows to eat.
Hence, more submissive cows will eat later and will not receive the same consistent ration.
One way to combat this is by stirring up the remainder feed and push it back under the cow's nose.
This is very important for transition cows that are most vulnerable going off feed and are often regrouped several times within a short period of time.
2) Improved butterfat
Studies have show that more meals per day causes an increase in fat-corrected milk by about 4%.
Additionally, longer feeding times and slower feeding rate decreases the risk of subacute ruminal acidosis (SARA).
When cows rush to feedbunk, it means they are hungry and prefer fresh feed.
this will disrupt the pH balance of the rumen and will lead to butterfat depression.
The best way to get cows to eat more frequently is by creating as many feeding stimulation points across the day. Examples include feeding more frequently and pushing up feed more regular.
3) Less refusals
It has been observed that frequent push feeding significantly lowers refusal rates.
If the cows have to work too hard to eat, they will eventually lie down and wait for the feed truck to return.
Feed that was not pushed up will be wasted instead.
Frequent feed pushup also helps to keep the feedbunk clean and food fresh.
Continuously pushing the feed keeps it in a neat pile that helps prevent heating and shrink.
4) Longer standing time
Studies have shown that the optimal time for a cow to eat is immediately after milking in order to increase her standing time.
A cow that stands longer will have more time for the teat canal to close, reducing risk for mastitis.