Complete diet and grazing can combine
COMPLETE diet feeding and grazed grass can work together to feed dairy cows.
Genus national nutrition consultant Diana Allen told producers on a Profit from Complete Diet Feeding visit to three south-west dairy units last week, that there was no conflict between the two. "When there is adequate grass to supply the cows needs do not buffer feed," said Mrs Allen. Only use the complete diet to make up a grass shortfall. But dont leave it up to the cows to decide how much they want."
Consider how grass grows and work out the kilos of grass dry matter offered based on a grass budget for each field, she advised.
"Graze tightly in spring to encourage tiller density later in the season to increase litres produced from grazed grass." Ad lib spring grass – which was high in energy at 12.5-13 ME – could provide for 25 litres a cow a day. But on wet days grass intakes could be low and cows might need extra buffer, advised Genus regional nutritionist James Shenton. However, when grass was sufficient to meet cows needs hay and straw should be offered for gut fill alongside grass, instead of a buffer.
which cows would eat in preference to grass.
• Assess grass offered.
• Restrict buffer feeding.
• Allow more maize on wet days.
Genus nutritionist Diana Allen…when theres adequate grass, dont buffer feed.