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Extension > Agriculture > Dairy Extension > Feed and Nutrition > What's new at the U? Dairy cattle nutrition research update

What's new at the U? Dairy cattle nutrition research update

Noah Litherland

Published in Dairy Star October 15, 2010

This article will highlight some of the University of Minnesota dairy research my laboratory group and I are conducting this fall. The overall objective of our work is to use "adaptive nutrition" to improve performance and health in both transition cows and nursery calves. We are currently running three research studies (two on the St. Paul Campus and one dairy farm field study). The following is an overview of the three studies:

Study #1. Effects of daily dry matter adjustment of ingredients in a total mixed ration using an IRM NIR (near-infrared reflectance) forage analyzer on pen dry matter intake, and individual milk production and milk components. This study is in cooperation with Dinamica Generale, an Italian company, and Gar-Lin Dairy, Eyota, MN, to evaluate a new precision feeding tool (Figure 1).

Bucket mounted NIR (near infrared reflectance) scanner

Figure 1. Bucket mounted NIR (near infrared reflectance) scanner, evaluates every bucket of forage fed at the Gar-Lin Dairy research trial.

Study #2. Effects of moderate energy diets with negative DCAD (dietary cation-anion difference) fed for either 21 or 42 days during the dry period on milk fever prevention and postpartum performance. Transition cow health challenges remain one of the largest problems and sources of cow variability on most dairy farms. This study aims at using adaptive nutrition strategies to reduce these health challenges in transition cows.

Study #3. Effects of feeding supplemental colostrum during the nursery phase on dairy calf growth and health. We teamed up with Dr. Jeremy Schefers at the University of Minnesota Diagnostic Lab to conduct a nursery calf study aimed at interactions of nutrition and health. We want to determine if supplementing heat treated colostrum during the first 14 days of life will reduce fecal score (1 = normal; 4= diarrhea), improve ADG, and reduce morbidity and mortality.

Bucket mounted NIR (near infrared reflectance) scanner

Figure 2. Future animal scientists demonstrate the colostrum cubes for our current nursery calf trial.

Our hope is that our research will yield practical results and recommendations that are useful on your dairy farm. We look forward to sharing results from these studies in the near future.

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