Experts encourage dairy producers to lock in cottonseed needs for high-group rations.
Source: Cotton Incorporated
CARY, N.C. – A significant increase in new crop cottonseed supplies, coupled with favorable prices, is good news for dairy producers who count on the feedstuff to add a punch of protein, fat and digestible fiber to the ration, experts say.
“Whole cottonseed is for anyone looking to get more milk,” says Steve Heckel, feed sales and nutrition representative of Harmony Country Cooperative in central Wisconsin. “Cottonseed is a good way to get in fat, it is palatable and mostly digestible. I talk to all my customers about it.”
A December USDA-National Agricultural Statistics Service crop production report forecasted the 2014 cottonseed yield at 5.258 million tons, a projected 25 percent supply increase over 2013, attributed to increased cotton acreage, higher production and good quality.
“Most cotton producing states saw more rain, a milder summer and harvested more bales,” says John Robinson, Texas A&M University professor and Extension specialist of cotton marketing. “Cottonseed supply will be higher and feed demand is not anticipated to change much.”
Adds Larry Johnson, of Cottonseed LLC in LaCrosse, Wis., “With a considerably larger 2014 cotton crop, current cottonseed prices are 10 to 15 percent lower than what they were a year ago.”
Consider cottonseed for high group rations
Whole cottonseed is a unique ingredient offering three key nutrients for dairy cows, and is an ideal feed ingredient for high-producing dairy cows, Heckel explains.
“I really like cottonseed as an ingredient in rations for early-lactation and high-producing cows,” he says. “The payoff of a nutritionally balanced ration is milk output and optimal milk components.”
Typically considered a feed concentrate, whole cottonseed fits a niche in several ration scenarios to boost milk components or supplement other feedstuffs. With its digestible fiber component, cottonseed can replace some forage, especially if forage quality is a concern. In other rations the additional fiber may allow for an increase in corn, contributing an overall boost to energy content.
Cotton Incorporated suggests producers get in touch with their cottonseed merchant or feed dealer to check prices, or submit a request for cottonseed quotes through its Cottonseed Marketplace.
Cottonseed is an excellent source of fiber, protein and energy. Typical rations can include up to 15 percent cottonseed on a dry matter basis. For more information, including reports on market conditions, feeding information and a list of suppliers, visit www.wholecottonseed.com.
Cotton Incorporated, funded by U.S. growers of upland cotton and importers of cotton and cotton textile products, is the research and marketing company representing upland cotton. The Program is designed and operated to improve the demand for and profitability of cotton.