Date of this Version
This NebGuide discusses feeding strategies to optimize dairy cow performance while minimizing negative environmental impacts.
Reducing N, P and K Excretion--The Challenge
Increasingly, our society demands livestock production systems that not only produce economic, high-quality food products, but also minimize negative environmental impacts. Feeding management has improved continuously and helps explain increases in milk production averages. The future challenge for dairy producers and nutritionists will be to properly formulate rations for high production levels while simultaneously minimizing the environmental impact of excessive N, P and K excretion in the urine and manure. A realistic approach will be to keep formulation of profitable, balanced rations as the primary goal, but to also give substantial consideration to adjusting formulations and feeding strategy to minimize any negative environmental impact. In many cases, a properly formulated ration that precisely meets the cow's requirements for milk production will also minimize excessive N, P and K excretion in the manure and urine.