Feeding Practices ~ Cattle

Bossroo

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How many Angus cross ( what is the actual cross ) cows, calves ( age, weight,weaned ), and bulls are being fed ? What is the actual composition of the "hay " ( grass, clover, aflalfa or mix ) at what stage of maturity was it cut, percentage of weeds, and what is the actual nutrition value (TDN ) of the "hay " ?
 
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greybeard

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it's just a very large Hay Bale
Big rounds--squares--rectangles?
I've seen plenty of 1200-1400 round bales..baled, described and sold by that nomenclature...never heard them called "Mega Hay Bales".
Is it just a marketing term..a regional description of the size and weight?
 

WyndSyrin

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Boss- They are all a mix of Angus, Beef master, and Santa Gertrudias. the entire herd is being fed on that hay. The bales are a mixture of Clover, Canary grass, and local grasses. could not tell you what stage of maturity at which it was cut nor percentage of weeds. the TDN couldn't tell you that either. What i know of it is that the herd can't get enough of it.

Greybeard - These are 6' diameter round bales weighing in at about 2200 lbs each. They are baled off of a John Deere 568 baler
 

simplysouthern22

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I live in Middle TN, about an hour out of Nashville. I have a Jersey milk cow and her calf. He's 7 months old.

I feed all pasture all the time. We have grass growing from late March through Thanksgiving, so I only feed hay for about 3 - 3.5 months. She gets a small bucket of oats to keep her still at milking. I get about 2 gallons a day. This is her first calf. Her condition is great - a solid 4 on the New Zealand score charts. I live on 5.4 acres, and well over 3 of that is all pasture for the cows and a few sheep. So far it's working out great!
Awesome for you! I have a question for you, maybe you or someone else can assist…I live in S AL (near Mobile) with our Guernsey. She is currently on pasture with free choice dry rye hay all day/night. She is due to calf in late May. We usually give her about 6 lbs of 17% CP dairy ration in the morning in the milking stall, then feed her another 6-lbs of 12% CP cattle ration in the evenings. We are only milking once per day (mornings) and she is trying to develop a little bit of mastitis. We think she is getting too much protein and want to reduce some, but not sure the schedule needs. What range of protein should she be in for optimal production in the mornings, but not building up too much milk in the evenings. Any thoughts would be appreciated.
 

farmerjan

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@simplysouthern22 ; welcome to the forum. You are commenting on a thread that is over 4 yrs old.
Mastitis has little to do with the CP levels. Most of the time CP levels that are too high will cause cows to get very loose manure... squirts as it is called on many dairies here... winter scours.... but it is really just that they are getting more protein than they can utilize. You cannot feed different rations to get different amounts of milk morning and evening. Basically the amount of feed will control the amount of milk, but again, not going to affect milk output as much from one milking to another on a regular basis.
I feed my dairy cows a 16% sweet feed when I milk. Actually it is a mix of 14% sweet with some 18% protein dairy pellets added in for the jerseys as they seem to milk more "off their back" than the jer/hol crosses. The guernseys and guernsey crosses seem to milk the fat off even more than the jerseys. The sad thing is the guernsey breed has been tampered with more than any other breed and it has caused problems; as they were not meant to be "milk wagons" and have been bred to be too "dairy" and not the more sturdy and even coarser looking cow. I have used a few outcrosses to less "dairy" (meaning fineboned and dainty) lines to try to breed back in some more "strength" into them.
I would look more to environmental causes for the mastitis. Are you doing a share situation with the calf? I have done that often, only milking once a day and the calves on the cow for 12+ hours; separating them away from the cow so I can milk 12 hours late. Calves have often been the way to stop mastitis in cows as they will butt and milk out the udder more often during their time with the cow.
Are you getting enough milk from the cow? Does she seem to have milk in her udder when you separate off the calf in the evening? If so, then the calf is not milking her out enough. She could very well need another calf. How much milk are you getting? How much milk do you need? If she has milk when you lock the calf away in the evening, then the answer is to feed less overall grain.... so her production drops off. My suggestion is to not feed as much grain in the evening... and I would just stick with one grain mix. 16% all the time. You are upsetting the bacteria in the gut tract by constantly changing the protein. The amount of grain will affect the beneficial bacteria in the gut tract and the rumen bacteria.... but constantly changing the protein will also cause havoc. Whenever a dairy changes their feed program due to changing which silage they are feeding, they do not want me to come milk test for about 5-7 days so the cows get adjusted to it and then they will get back to milking normal. It can really throw them off. You are in essence doing that to them every day.
I would see if your state agriculture lab does milk sample analysis. They can check for BF, protein, SCC ... and can isolate the type of mastitis. I also know that the lab in Lancaster PA does this. It is not cheap... but if you are having a problem, you need to know what is causing the problem, if it is treatable and what to treat with. Sometimes there are cows that are chronic high SCC cows... and getting rid of it is tough. Staph bacteria is a common chronic problem. Strep is also a common one. Some will be treatable with antibiotics... but chronic cows often will have a resistant strain and will not respond. You won't know if you don't know what you are dealing with.

I will be glad to help if I can. Another question.... are you near a dairy that you are friends with? Ask if they are "on test".... many dairies are on some type of DHIA test...or with Dairy One.... which is a milk test that samples from every cow get sent into a lab to check the individual cows. If you are friends with a dairy... see if they would send in a sample of your cow with their monthly test. They would have to create a "fake cow" in their herd.... and you would have to give them a milk weight for the cow, but they can take a sample of your cow and send it in along with their herd info. Within a few days after the samples are run, they can tell you what the sample showed... the BF % and the protein and SCC... if it is high... then you have to go from there. I have 2 former dairy farmers with just a couple of cows they still have, that partner with another farm for the samples... it costs about $5 a sample if sent in with a farm already on test. It would cost you 5-10x that much to be on test yourself.... there are rules with these companies for minimums etc....
Again, some of the state labs do sampling. I can get you in touch with the Lab in Lancaster Pa that processes our DHIA samples and they have many farms that do what is called owner sampling. I don't know the particulars on costs. Again, there are minimum charges, but it is a way to get results.

Hope this is of some help.
 

simplysouthern22

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Thank you for all the information and advice! After reviewing your response, we have adjusted some things back down to more fall in line with her lactation stage. We have cut out the 17% dairy feed ration all together and have reduced to 3-lbs of 12% feed at the morning milking while still offering rye hay bale as free choice; have noticed all of them eating quite a bit more of it as the weather has turned cooler. Her manure has gone from pretty runny to a much better looking stack and have treated all quarters with Today antibiotic. She never showed any signs of mastitis, though by looking at other signs and reading a lot of other articles seem to at least be on the right track. My concern is without any of the other symptoms of actual mastitis (i.e. , redness in the udder, tenderness, hard knots, etc.) this could be sub-clinical or just high count. We are thoroughly cleaning/sanitizing all equipment after each milking, treating her udder/teats with a cream with Aloe (taking care to not get any into the teat orifice) to combat the wind as well as using dynamint on her udder to help with circulation. We are sealing the teats off with a post dip immediately after treating and ensuring it dries before she leaves the milking stall. We are not calf-sharing though we think there may be possibility of one of the other calves nursing on her. We are getting a consistent 1-gallon of milk per day (which we are pouring out due to treating with the antibiotics) but that is down by about 50% from where we were when this started, about 2-weeks ago. The amount of mastitis we are seeing seems to have decreased, though we are still seeing a little bit of a "milk-clot" when we first begin to strip, then she seems to milk just fine; no other clots or flakes or anything really floating around. We were straining our milk prior to starting this treatment, but not really sure we are certain we are even correct in what we are looking at. May be doing all this for nothing, just a little concerned with everything she's been through since we picked her up and moved her home. Want to make sure she's healthy and trying to learn how to best care for her. We do not live in dairy country, mostly beef; and the vets around us are not very helpful when it comes to knowledge, mostly equine vets. Any/all questions are welcome and I'm looking forward to learning what I can; I pick up pretty quickly. Thanks in advance.
 

farmerjan

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The treating intramammary is only for 2 or maybe 4 consecutive milkings. Using Today is something many use here too. And Dynamint is very popular because it helps with post calving edema in the udder especially in first calf heifers and cows that get really big before calving. It is almost standard on most of the dairies I milk test for. It is great to get the blood flow in the udder and get any swelling they have down. Most dairy farmers will use it on any cow that they have treated for mastitis as it really does help. Good for you.

You only have to discard the milk for 96 hours after last treatment of most antibiotics for the milk to pass the very sensitive tests the farms do to insure the milk to be antibiotic free and legal to ship. Most farmers will check the individual cows milk before they put it back in the tank to be absolutely sure of it being "clean" milk to ship.

I don't know of any other members down that way that could help with information.

Part of her decreased milk is the decreased grain too. One thing, rye hay can be great or not.... depending on when it was cut as to ensuing the protein content. You might want to find another hay to add to her ration... as it is more "digestible" which makes it go "through" her digestive tract faster. It is a cereal crop... and they are all high moisture when green... goes into the "boot stage" of the seed head formation... then the seed head is quickly formed and the stalk/leaves quickly lose their nutritional value. It makes a good feed, a very good silage, but you have to watch the protein and the dry matter content which is lower than many other types of hay. I am not real familiar with the hays grown down in the south... I know there is bahia, and bermuda hay. I know that orchard grass can be grown but is not that successful and timothy does not so well in the heat. Some provide more roughage and usually those are also lower in protein...

Many times a mastitis flair up is noticed with one quarter being harder feeling, often feeling warm/hot on that quarter. The cow is often touchy about you milking it. The milk production is often reduced and of course the obvious signs of flakes or long clumpy stringy stuff.
If you see a few flakes in the initial strip out, then it is likely she is a chronic high somatic cell count cow.... (scc) and most often it is a staph type and they are hard to get rid of. Not trying to discourage you. My suggestion is for you to finish the current regimen of treatment.. and make sure she gets completely milked out each time. Then when dry off time comes, treat with with a dry cow treatment... and 2 weeks later just retreat with no stripping or anything... just put more dry cow treatment up the udder.... AND make sure there is absolutely no chance that any calf can sneak on her. She needs to be fully dry.....When she comes fresh, you will need to discard her milk for a little longer than suggested on the instructions to make sure it clears out of her system... that milk can be fed to pigs or calves as it will go through their system and not cause any residual to wind up in the meat....yes, feed the colostrum to the calf ....sometimes the dry period will "reset" their system and the mastitis problem will be resolved. There is no guarantee but.....
I will tell you that once a day milking is more conducive to a higher cell count than 2x a day milking. We see it in the dairies that milk once a day. So that might be adding to the problem.

I think that you are doing very good to try to get on top of this.
 

simplysouthern22

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Thank you, again for your response! I think that is what has me baffled....her udder isn't hard, red or engorged, not seeing any flakes or long stringy stuff at stripping or floating in the milk or sticking to the bottom of the bucket. The only thing that brought our attention to the possible issue was the decreased production and a little bit of clump at the very beginning of strip clogging up the orifice, then milk strips and appears fine after that. She typically stands still and is a joy to milk, we massage her udder on all quarters and have noticed that her front 2 quarters milk out faster than the back 2. We thought that may be causing some overmilking so we started removing the cups from those 2 after making sure we massaged everything out. As for the hay, everyone is eating a great deal of hay, everyone appears healthy and manure pats appear healthy (from what I can tell). Even on the additional grain, we weren't getting any more production, though our next thought was that our angus calf could be nursing on her overnight even though she's visually seen nursing on her mom. The angus calf and our guernsey cow seem to have gotten pretty close as they do tend to stand together a great deal of the day; we have not actually witnessed the calf nursing on her, so we aren't real sure what that is about....maybe they just became really good friends. I don't know the nutritional makeup of the hay, though figured the 3-lbs (reduced from 6-lbs) daily of 12% ration would help balance. We've treated with Today a couple times and it seems to have cleared everything up for the most part, just that little bit of clogging we are getting.
 
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