Diary Cow feed questions/esp with organic feeds

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by MaryF, Oct 3, 2005.

  1. MaryF

    MaryF Well-Known Member

    Sep 15, 2005
    Hi all,
    been on and off for a bit here, but I wanted to touch base with you and get some input from those more experienced than us on this feed issue with dairy cows.

    Let me tell you what I am feeding now...
    I feed the Genesis organic feed, about 6lbs a day. I suppliment with a red mineral block, and a blue mineral block, plus some purina 13 loose minerals, and some organic kelp each milking.
    Here are the ingredients for the grain-

    Crude Protein 13% minimum
    Crude Fat 5% minumum
    Crude Fiber 10% maximum
    Calcium .55% minimum
    Calcium .95% maximum
    Phosphorous .70% minimum
    Copper 18 ppm minimum
    Selenium 24 ppm minimum
    Zinc 40 ppm minimum
    Vitamin A 1880 IU/lb minimun

    Ingredients: Organic Oats, Organic Hulless Barley, Organic Peas, Organic Flax Meal, Mineral Vitamin Booster Pellet containing: Organic Alfalfa, Organic Peas, Limestone, Calcium Phosphate, Salt, Vitamin E, Selenium, Zinc Oxide, Manganese Oxide, Vitamin A, Vitamin D

    My cow is 7yrs old, just calved the end of June, so she is just over 4months into her lactation. Shes a Jersey.
    The reason for my quandry-
    She is down to giving me about 1 1/2 to 2 gallons of milk a milking. Dh and I are going back and forth on this. Is she giving less because we arent feeding her enough protein. Any more, and I dont think I will be able to stay organic on the grain, cause right now a 50lb bag runs me $17. She peaked in production about a month ago at about 3 gallons. I make sure she is milked out completely, so I dont think that is the reason.
    Lets see...on the alfalfa, I feed her about 3/4 a bale a day...its premiem stuff.
    Im doing a test this week, really watching her water intake to make sure she is getting enough water. If it isnt that, the only thing I can think of is lack of more protein?
    She isnt 'milking off her back' at this point...looks fit.
    What are your thoughts on this?
  2. pygmywombat

    pygmywombat Well-Known Member

    Sep 7, 2002
    Northeastern Ohio
    I feed hay free choice so the cow takes all that she needs. Just keep her hay bin full instead of parceling it out. Grain may be a bit low in protein- generally dairy grain is 16%. I care more about buying local grain and supporting my neighbors then paying lots more for organic that is shipped from out of state. At our grainary 500 pounds of custom mixed 16% grain is $56.

  3. willow_girl

    willow_girl Very Dairy

    Dec 7, 2002
    Dysfunction Junction
    Has she been tested for Johne's?

    I don't mean to scare you, but Johne's will cause decreased production even before the symptoms (i.e., diarrhea or weight loss) become noticeable.
  4. AnnaS

    AnnaS Well-Known Member

    Nov 29, 2003
    Verndale MN
    No cow experience, but a little on milk & organic grain.

    My dairy goats are fed locally grown transitional organic 16% grain. They did not milk well on a ration with a lot of peas in it. I switched them to a corn/oat/soy feed with much better results. I was told that field peas are lacking an amino acid that corn & soy have.

    You can go a lot higher with protein and stay organic. My feed mill has 22% organic feed for turkeys, it has a lot of soy meal. Here organic certified 16% dairy grain mix is $8.75/50 lb.


    I would check with USDA office and DHIA to see who is doing organic dairy in your area and see if you can buy grain from them- likely get a better, cheaper product.
  5. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

    May 11, 2002
    How much milk was she giving daily during her first month after freshening? Unless it has dropped off over a third it would seem normal. I would let her have free choice hay at all times.
  6. JeffNY

    JeffNY Seeking Type

    Dec 13, 2004
    New York
    There is a formula to figure out how much grain is needed per day, pending how much milk she is producing. But what is needed is the NEL figures for the feed (hay). If you can find that out, I will try to remember how to do the calculation. What really helps is a forage analysis. This may not be the problem, however if the quantity in grain is lacking, it can effect production (not getting enough to meet her needs).

    Now you said 1.5-2 gallons per milking? Do you mean you get 3-4 gallons per day? Per milking sounds like, morning and afternoon milking is seperate. If she is giving 4 per day (2 morning, 2 afternoon), that is 35lbs a day.

    Either way, if you dont have a forage analysis for that alfalfa, have one done, or if your buying, ask if they have one.

    Edit: There is also DMI calculations too (Dry Matter Intake), that information is also on the forage analysis.