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Feeding the dairy herd

James G. Linn, Michael F. Hutjens, Randy Shaver, Donald E. Otterby, W. Terry Howard and Lee H. Kilmer

Reviewed 2005

Dairy cows feeding

Table of Contents

Ruminant Anatomy and Physiology
  • Anatomy of the Adult
  • Function of the Digestive Tract
  • Calf Digestive System
Feed Nutrients
  • Energy
  • Protein
  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Water
  • Forages
  • Energy Concentrates (Grains and By-Product Feeds)
  • Protein Supplements
Feeding the Dairy Herd
  • Dairy Cow Nutrition
  • Calf Nutrition
  • Heifer Nutrition
Feeding Systems
  • Forage Systems
  • Grain Systems
  • Mineral Systems
  • Total Mixed Rations
Ration Formulation
  • Ration Formulation Thumb Rules—Lactating Cows
  • Hand Calculated Rations
  • Balanced Ration Check Sheet
Purchasing Feed
  • Feed Tag Interpretation
  • Feed Additives
  • Dollar Value of Common Feedstuffs
Dairy Cow Diseases and Disorders
Appendix Tables
A-1. Sample budget of cost and returns for a milk cow and her replacement at three different levels of production
A-2. Sample budget for raising heifers to 1350 lb in 24 months
A-3. Estimating weight of dairy animals on basis of heart girth measurements
A-4. Water quality guidelines for dairy cattle
A-5. Daily nutrient recommendations for growing heifers
A-6. Daily nutrient recommendations for lactating dairy cows
A-7. Crude protein and energy allowances for milk production
A-8. Calcium and phosphorus allowances for milk production
A-9. Nutrient value of common forages
A-10. Nutrient value of energy concentrates (grains, by-product feeds, and fat)
A-11. Nutrient value of protein concentrates
A-12. Composition of common mineral supplements
A-13. Mineral content of common feedstuffs and trace mineral supplements
A-14. Recommended nutrient content of diets for dairy cows
A-15. Recommended nutrient content of diets for dairy heifers
A-16. Feed evaluation factors for estimating dollar value of feeds
A-17. Conversion tables for common weights and measures

Abbreviations used throughout this publication are as follows:
DM = dry matter RFV = relative feed value
DMI = dry matter intake UIP = undegradable intake protein
CP = crude protein DIP = degradable intake protein
NFC = nonfiber carbohydrates SIP = soluble intake protein
ADF = acid detergent fiber NPN = nonprotein nitrogen
NDF = neutral detergent fiber

The first edition of this publication was authored in 1894 by T.L. Haecker, University of Minnesota. This is the thirty-fourth edition of the publication and the third multistate edition. Information in this publication is intended to assist dairy producers, the feed industry and other agribusinesses in improving milk production per cow and to help the midwest dairy industry better compete on a national basis. The basic information on nutrition and feeding management for dairy animals from birth through their lactation cycles is presented here. The tables and text are based on current research data and the authors' experiences. This publication is intended as a basic reference manual and should be supplemented with fact sheets and other dairy nutrition publications as they become available from the cooperating states.

Dairy Farm
Dairy farms represent major capital investments in rural communities.

North Central Regional Extension Publications are subject to peer review and prepared as part of the Cooperative Extension activities of the thirteen land-grant universities of the 12 North Central States, in cooperation with the Extension-U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C. The following states cooperated in making this publication available:

University of Illinois
1301 W. Gregory Drive
Urbana, IL 61801
University of Nebraska
Comm. and Computing Services
Lincoln, NE 68583
Purdue University
301 S. Second St.
Lafayette, IN 47905
North Dakota State University
Dept. of Ag. Comm., Box 5655
Fargo, ND 58105-5655
Iowa State University
112 Printing & Publ. Bldg.
Ames, IA 50011
University of Wisconsin
Coop. Ext. Pub. Distribution, Rm. 245
30 N. Murray St.
Madison, WI 53715-2609
Michigan State University
P.O. Box 6640
East Lansing, MI 48826-6640
University of Minnesota (Publishing state)
20 Coffey Hall, 1420 Eckles Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55108-6069

The authors:

James G. Linn is professor and extension animal scientist—dairy nutrition, University of Minnesota.

Michael F. Hutjens is professor and extension dairy specialist, University of Illinois.

Randy Shaver is associate professor and extension dairy specialist, University of Wisconsin.

Donald E. Otterby is professor, dairy nutrition, University of Minnesota..

W. Terry Howard is professor and extension dairy specialist, University of Wisconsin..

Lee H. Kilmer is associate professor and extension dairy specialist, Iowa State University.

In cooperation with the North Central Region Educational Materials Project

Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Cooperative Extension Services of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. Katherine Fennelly, Dean and Director, University of Minnesota Extension, St. Paul, MN 55108.


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