When I was younger, I was the queen of puzzles. I would sit for hours trying to get each piece to perfectly fit in order to create a beautiful picture.
Dairy is the same sort of thing, really. Every piece has to fit together perfectly in order to great an effective operation. If you are feeling like there is something missing, there probably is.
First, you should know straight up: You are not going to know everything right away. It’s simply impossible. When you have questions, though, it’s important that you ask someone who can help you better your dairy farm.
One of the things Brett and I are learning about right now is actually one of most important topics in the dairy industry: nutrition.
What a cow puts into her body has a direct impact on her overall health and her milk production. Just like a human mother has to be careful what she puts into her body, a cow has to do similarly. This means you have to cut the Doritos and sugar out of your life in order to provide a healthier life for you and your baby.
If I asked you to guess what a cow ate, I would get answers varying from corn, silage, straw, and hay. It may seem like a simple answer to those who live and work on dairy farms, but it may not be that simple for those who have no connection with the dairy.
Why is nutrition important?
If you eat or benefit from dairy products, it is important that you know where your food is coming from. After all, what a cow eats, directly impacts the quality of milk products that we get in the store. So this isn’t something that just dairy farmers should care or know about.
Below I have included a recipe card of the ingredients of what goes into feeding just one single cow. I have also included the importance of each ingredient. Each cow on a dairy is fed a diet that is specific to her needs. This specialized diet provides every nutrient needed to live a healthy life as a milk cow.
Dairy Vocab: A place to learn more about the words you may not understand. Feel free to suggest words you want to know more about.
Premix: A mix of vitamins, minerals, soy bean meal, cotton seed, etc.
Alfalfa Hay: A forage (explain) crop
Silage: Corn that has been chopped and compacted into an airtight pile, without being dried.
Rumen mat: The thick mat of fiber on the top of the rumen that holds the recently consumed feed, especially portions of the food with high fiber content.