What Do Dairy Cows Eat

September 17, 2019

Most dairy farmers will work with their nutritionist to create a feed ration that is optimal for the cows. The ration will depend on what type of feed is most commonly available. Most farmers will aim for around 50% of diet as forage. Forage is simply plants that are consumed while grazing.

 

The other half of the diet is called concentrate. It is mainly comprised of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, minerals and water.

 

Carbohydrates

  • Primary sources include barley, corn, oats and so on.

  • Most farmers will grow their own source of carbohydrates and process them before feeding to the cows.

  • Molasses, beet pulp and soyhulls are usually purchased from the feed mil.

 

Protein

  • Primary sources include canola meal, distillers grain, soybean meal.

 

Fat

  • Main sources include vegetable oil, tallow or rumen bypass fats.

 

Minerals and Vitamins

  • Primary sources include calcium, phosphorus magnesium, sodium, Vitamin A, D, E, B and so on.

  • All these are crucial for the health and productivity of the cows.

  • Prebiotics and probiotics are also used to help with digestion as a way to ensure healthy cows.

 

Protein, fats, minerals, vitamins and feed additive are usually mixed together at a feedmill to produce a balance diet before feeding to the cows.

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