Ration quality and the level of feed consumed both play important roles in maximizing dairy farm profitability. Feedstuff analysis allows better appreciation of real cost and should be considered in ration formulation. Feed efficiency should be calculated and monitored to identify the most profitable cows of the herd and to evaluate the nutritional programs more closely and accurately.
Winter feeding costs are a major expense in cow-calf herds. So, selecting a winter feeding program that is cost-efficient is imperative. However, making sure nutrient requirements are met during this time is critical to future profitability. An investment now can pay dividends for years to come.
Three factors definitely not favorable for optimal plant growth and forage quality are heat stress, drought, and inadequate soil nutrient supply. These problems are very common in Louisiana. Although we may have little control over these environmental influences, we do need to understand the overall effects of environment on forage quality.
Safe levels for aflatoxin feeding vary with each individual animal. The ingestion of aflatoxin at levels even lower than those given above may cause some undesirable side effects. Moreover, these effects are dependent on factors such as age, sex and general health of the animals.
When it comes to deciding which mineral supplements to use in livestock feeding, two criteria need to be considered: Biological efficacy and economic efficiency.
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture