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Virginia Cooperative Extension -
 Knowledge for the CommonWealth

Fall is a Time of Transition.

Dairy Pipeline: September 1995

by Charles C. Stallings
Extension Dairy Scientist, Nutrition

September and October are transition months when we move from summer feeding to a new crop of silage. No two years are the same and unique problems always result. Most of the state has had a good growing season, but Southwest Virginia has suffered from a lack of water at certain times. Nitrates are becoming a concern in some areas as a result. Ensiling as corn silage reduces the nitrate level. It is best to let the silage ferment at least 2 weeks before feeding. That way the majority of the fermentation and change will have occurred and the feed is stable. If you feed immediately after ensiling each day the forage will vary by degree of fermentation. This presents problems with cow acceptance. Also changes in the ration are many times made as the new silage is introduced. By-product feeds sometimes will be used. Most of these feeds should be limited to no more than 15% of the ration dry matter. For Holstein cows this relates to a maximum of 7 lbs./cow/day for dry brewers grains, distillers grains, and whole cottonseeds. Reduce by 20% for Jerseys. Wet brewers grains should be limited to 35 lbs. or less. Blood and fish meal should be limited to 1 lb./cow/day and meat and bone meal 2 lbs. Introduce any new feed gradually over a 10 to 14 day period if possible. Feeding sodium bicarbonate at .3 to .5 lbs./cow/day may also help in the adaptation process.

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