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This NebGuide discusses important aspects of grouping and feeding systems, body conditioning, and nutritional requirements for high-producing dairy cows.
An effective feeding system allows maximum intake of a nutritionally balanced ration. The use of production-enhancing compounds, such as Bovine Somatropin (BST), makes proper nutritional management of high-producing dairy cows even more critical. This NebGuide discusses important aspects of grouping and feeding systems, body conditioning, and nutritional requirements for high-producing dairy cows.
As herd production levels continue to increase along with the average herd size, it is becoming more difficult for many dairy producers to feed their cattle adequate nutrients to maintain high production. Within a given herd a producer usually has cows at varying production levels and lactation stages, all of which require different ration formulations and energy levels if the cattle are going to produce at optimum levels. Also, proper nutrition is required early in the lactation to prepare the cow's reproductive system for conception and pregnancy. Proper nutrition is also important if cattle are to ward off infections, such as mastitis and metabolic problems. A properly nourished cow will be in better physical condition to handle stress and other physical challenges. Therefore, the feeding system must undergo significant modification as production levels increase, not only for the producer to maintain profitable production, but also for the physical well-being of dairy cattle.