A toolbox for troubleshooting dairy nutrition problems
Nutrition is a crucial determinant of dairy cow health and productivity. Veterinarians can leverage their regular access to cows and feed bunks to provide herd owners with regular evaluation and monitoring of nutritional management. The 5 areas in which dairy veterinarians can have the most impact on nutritional management are particle length of total mixed rations, sorting of total mixed rations, adequacy of eating space, adequacy of feed refusals, and appropriate timing of feed deliveries. The pre- and post-fresh groups are the highest priority pens for evaluation and monitoring. The most common problems that may be encountered are inappropriate proportion of long particles in the total mixed rations, excessive sorting of the total mixed rations, insufficient bunk space for all of the cows to eat at the same time, insufficient targeted feed refusals such that cows do not have full access to feed throughout the day, and lack of fresh feed in the bunk when cows return from the parlor after the first milking of the day.