Feeding dairy cows to boost milk production is an effective way to increase your income. However, this is mostly easier said than done – especially given the fact that dairy cows require proper nutrition not just for optimum milk production but also for good health and body maintenance.
Irrespective of how good your breed is, no dairy cow can remain productive unless you feed it properly. The quality and amount of milk produced will also be affected largely by what you feed your cow, and how you feed it.
If you graze your dairy cattle on a farm with little water and pasture and house the cows in dirty sheds, this might result in an increase in the incidences of diseases and accompanied by poor milk yield.
On the other hand, good breeds that receive clean water and good feed, proper housing, and gentle, friendly care tend to produce more milk (and money). Therefore, you should already have an incentive to help you with feeding dairy cows to boost milk production.
Consider the following:
Feed and Nutrient Requirements
The normal feed requirements for a lactating cow are starkly different from that of heifers and calves. In fact, the amount of feed you provide to your cow should depend on the volume of milk it products, as well as its levels of activity, temperature, and weight.
Whatever the case, you should provide balanced feeds for your dairy cows so that they get energy (fats and carbohydrates), vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein – as well as water in good amounts.
If possible, you should only give your cows digestible feed. This way, they will be able to absorb the resultant nutrients into the bodies. Of course, you should check the feed to ensure that it does not contain any toxic substances.
Fodder and Dry Matter
While feeding dairy cows to boost milk production, you might want to focus on food crops such as Napier grass. This type of grass is considered to be the most important feed for dairy cattle because it provides energy for reproduction, weight gain, growth, body maintenance, and – ultimately – milk production. Most fodder crops also come with fiber (roughage) that improves the levels of fat in the milk and aids in digestion. However, you can also give your animals extra energy from such food sources as wheat germ, maize, and molasses.
Mature cross breed cows, for instance, weight about 400 kg on average. Such a cow would require about 10 to 15 kilos of fodder a day. If you are using Napier grass, therefore, you should ensure that it is around 3 ft in height because short grasses tend to contain more water and less dry matter, meaning that your cow might not receive adequate nutrition from such fodder.
Overall, feeding dairy cows to boost milk production should not be difficult. Although it will cost you more, it is the surefire way to keep your milk yields at an optimally high point.