Date of this Version



© 1997, The Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska on behalf of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension. All rights reserved.


This NebGuide describes feeding guidelines to increase production of solids-corrected milk.

Proper feeding management of the dairy herd can improve the economy of production and provide for a healthier cow. Feeding to increase production of milk with maximum levels of milk fat and protein is essential for achieving these benefits.

Milk solid components include fat, protein, lactose, and minerals. Normal values for milk fat range from 3.7 percent (Holstein) to 4.9 percent (Jersey); milk protein ranges from 3.1 percent (Holstein) to 3.8 percent (Jersey). Lactose is usually 4.6 to 4.8 percent for all breeds and minerals (ash) average .74 percent. Dairy producers focus on maximizing milk fat and protein content. Current milk pricing formulas emphasize milk fat, giving maintenance of normal milk fat test an economic advantage. Normal milk fat percentages also reflect good rumen and cow health. Generally, diets which cause low milk fat test also cause sore feet (laminitis), acidosis, and feed intake problems. Milk protein has economic value because higher protein leads to higher cheese yields. Increasingly, milk protein content is being emphasized as milk fat price differentials decline due to the public's demand for low-fat dairy foods.