AND REGIONALLY AVAILABLE
ALTERNATIVE FEEDSTUFFS FOR DAIRY CATTLE
NDSU Animal and Range Sciences
Last Updated: April 7, 1998
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Feed costs, the single largest expense in animal production, may
be reduced by including locally and regionally grown crops and by-products
into animal diets, especially for ruminants. Numerous by-products
are produced in our region, but usage is sometimes limited due to
poor understanding of their nutritional and economic value, as well
as their proper use in dairy cattle rations.
The by-products of food and fiber are commonly referred to as "coproducts"
because they have significant value as a feed, while lowering the
cost of feed input. Since ruminants are essentially recyclers, the
use of by-products (or coproducts) are particularly suited to dairy
cattle that ultimately produce a high-quality product (milk) from
the by-products of food, feed, and industrial processing that might
otherwise be discarded as waste. So, environmentally, as well as
economically, by-products will continue to become more important
as ingredients in dairy cattle diets.
unusual feeds may be available at reasonable prices, cost is not
the only factor to consider. Animals sometimes react unfavorably
to radical changes in feeds, no matter how good the new feed. Therefore,
most uncommon feeds should be used with caution and introduced into
the ration gradually, even when low prices favor their use. The
nutrition value of the feed, its palatability, possible toxicity
or contamination with pesticides or heavy metals, and the effects
upon digestion and utilization of the total ration are factors that
must also be carefully considered.
incorporation of by-product ingredients into ruminant rations requires
careful planning, evaluation, and study. Labor costs resulting from
the use of unusual feeds can sometimes offset the lower feed prices.
Furthermore, many by-products are not consistent in nutrient content
due to different milling and processing procedures. In this case,
it is important to purchase the feed and formulate rations on the
basis of a guaranteed laboratory analysis of each lot of feed.
List of Abbreviations:
acid detergent insoluble nitrogen; ADF acid detergent fiber;
AF as fed basis; CP crude protein; DM dry matter;
EE ether extract (fat); Effectiveness Factor fraction
of NDF as compared to long forage (not chopped) which has a value
of 1.0; NEL net energy of lactation; NFC non-fiber carbohydrates
(starch source); NDF neutral detergent fiber (from forage);
TDN total digestible nutrients; TMR total mixed ration;
RUP rumen undegradable protein; UIP undegradable intake