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Feed Strategies for Certain Purchased Feeds and Feed Additives

Feed Strategies for Certain Purchased Feeds and Feed Additives

Strategies to economize feed additive use.

June 2017

J.W. Schroeder, NDSU Dairy Cattle Specialist Emeritus

Feed additives can raise feed costs by $.02 to $.30 per cow per day. Dairy farmers and nutritionists must correctly position feed additives to economically justify their use. Benefit to cost ratios can vary from 10:1 (anionic salts) to 8:1 (ionophores and zinc methionine) to 4:1 (buffers and yeast) to 3:1 (niacin).

The following table outlines strategies when to include certain purchased feeds in dairy rations. Use it as a guide for your feed additive needs. Work with a trained nutritionist to help fine-tune your ration needs.

Strategies with additives and purchased feeds.  
Feed Ingredient Strategy
Undegraded protein Milk yield > 65 lb
Animal/fish protein blend (by-pass protein) Milk yield > 90 lb (Corn based diets)
Unprotected fat/oil Milk yield > 65 lb, thin cows
Protected fat Milk yield > 90 lb, thin cows
Chelated/complex minerals Close-up dry cows, E.T. donor cows (stress conditions)
Buffers Early lactation Wet rations, high corn silage rations
Niacin Close-up dry cows, early lactation, milk yield > 70 lb, ketotic-prone cows
Yeast Close-up dry cows, fresh cows, cows off-feed
Anionic Salts Close-up dry cows
Ionophores All heifers
Probiotics (Direct Feed Microbials) Calves on liquid diets, cows off-feed