The Feed Factor

May 15, 2009 07:00 PM

*Extended comments highlighted in blue.

Louie Kazemier
Rickreall, Ore.
For us, nutrition is one of the most important factors in producing milk from healthy cows. If the nutrition is off, the first thing we see is a drop in milk, but six weeks later we see it in reproduction and foot health too. If something is amiss for too long, one could have a total wreck.

To help us monitor how well the feeder is doing as well as watching cow intake and keeping track of costs, we installed the EZfeed program from DHI-Provo a year and a half ago. After using this program for a year, it has become as important to us as the DHI-Plus program is to managing the herd. We also use an unbiased (not a company) nutritionist on a regular basis.

We purchase the best alfalfa we can find. If the fiber is too low, we add some feeder hay to it. This past year, with hay at $260, it was tempting to take it out of the ration. We did cut back on the hay, but did not take it out.

We put up about 25,000 tons a year of corn silage, ryegrass silage and clover silage. To get a good pack on the silage, we rent an extra tractor with dual wheels on the rear. We load the wheels with calcium to make it as heavy as possible. All this tractor does is pack, back and forth. It's the most boring and dangerous job there is, but it is by far the most important. We believe getting a good solid pack is the key to putting up quality silage.

Kazemier's March Prices  
Milk (3.53% bf, 3.01% prt): $10.48/cwt. (gross)
Cull cows: $45/cwt.
Springing heifers: $1,375/head, top quality
Top-quality alfalfa $210/ton
Flaked corn (2009 contracted) $280/ton (spot $185/ton)

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