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Utilize QLF to Maximize Benefits and Efficiency of Feeding 2023 Forage Crops

December 6, 2023

Lisa Davis, MS

Dairy Product Manager

Weather extremes of 2023 have affected forage quality and availability in many areas of the US.  Silages may be higher in moisture due to growing conditions and narrow harvest windows in some areas.  Other regions have dry silages due to heavy drought and rapid dry-down at harvest.  The use of alternative forages is necessary in some areas to fill in for reduced yields of traditional forages.   While 2023 may be a challenging year for the variation in forage quality and digestibility, the nutrients provided by QLF, and the conditioning of the TMR can help to improve forage utilization and feeding program efficiency.  Here’s how:

Improve Profit Potential

Make sure the rumen bugs have plenty of available carbohydrate energy to work with.  Small grain silages, warm season annuals, and immature corn silage are low in starch compared to traditional corn silage. Also, starch digestibility may be lagging in corn silage that hasn’t reached peak fermentation or was overly mature at harvest.  Supplemental rapidly-available carbohydrates are needed. Sugars in QLF provide quick energy to rumen bacteria, complementing rumen-available nitrogen to improve microbial protein production. The most profitable response to feeding sugar is a total diet level of 6.75-8% of ration dry matter.

Improve Fiber Digestibility

Warm-season annuals and small grain silages, provide economical and necessary forage dry matter, but fiber levels are higher than corn silage.  Also, growing conditions in some areas resulted in corn silage with reduced fiber digestibility.  As a result, diet NDF/ADF levels elevate quickly, increasing rumen fill and slowing microbial growth. Sugars and protein in QLF products improve microbial growth & fiber digestibility to help normalize rumen fill, passage rates, and DMI.

Digestible Dry Matter

Silage moisture may be 75-80% in some forages due to narrow harvest windows. High moisture silage limits intake, due to rumen fill. Most QLF Dairy TMR products are 35-38% moisture, providing high levels of digestible dry matter to the TMR. QLF liquid supplements increase ration nutrient density and encourage DMI through improved forage digestion!

Improve Milk Efficiency

In many areas, corn silage feeding quality is highly variable due to growing conditions. Seepage losses during ensiling and storage carry away soluble nutrients, reducing silage nutritive value, consistency, and palatability.  Frequent moisture testing, nutrient analyses, and ration adjustments are needed to maintain DMI, of all feeding groups. Use QLF at 4-6 lbs/day to consistently maximize TMR palatability, uniformity of daily nutrient provision, rumen efficiency, milk, and component production.

Improve TMR Consistency

The addition of straw, dry hay, or corn fodder to the TMR helps balance ration moisture levels and provides necessary roughage.  These feeds might be utilized at higher levels in lactating cow diets this year, to meet dietary fiber needs and help stretch traditional forages.  Also, more frequent diet changes may be needed this year to match available forage inventories with purchased byproduct feeds and forages.  Utilize the QLF at 4-6 lbs /day to provide the base consistency of the TMR.   Molasses-based liquid supplements improve TMR palatability, reduce ration sorting, and enhance long particle intake, providing more energy to the cows from all dietary forages and feeds!

Precision Feeding Focus

Forage challenges require special attention to dietary nutrient and additive provision. Sugars, protein, macro and micro-nutrients, and specialty additives in QLF are distributed evenly within the product and into the TMR.  Nutrients and additives provided by QLF are consumed in each bite of TMR, maximizing its feeding value!

Improve Efficiency of Feeding Program Investment

QLF enhances forage digestibility, ration consistency, and intake, to reduce sorting and lessen TMR waste. There is virtually no shrink of QLF since the product is stored in closed handling systems. Every lb of QLF helps improve the efficiency of the feeding program!

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