What does a balanced diet look like?
If you are used to using hay and grain, you might not be used to thinking of a balanced diet in these terms. Essentially, a cow's diet is primarily made up of energy, protein and fibre. It is the proportions of each that determine if the diet is nutritionally balanced.
Getting the diet right
If you are going to the effort of making up a diet that includes more than pasture only, the diet needs to be:
- Nutritionally balanced
- Get good advice
- Remember that diets can get complicated. A nutrition adviser can help you get the best results.
Rumen8 is a user friendly, free nutrition platform to help you formulate dairy diets, to ensure the correct balance of energy, protein, fibre, minerals and other nutritional components for Australian dairy cows at different stages of production. It can be used regularly by dairy farmers to adjust their dairy cow diets with periodic help from a nutritionist.
The Rumen8 Feed Companion Manual (PDF, 1MB) provides a summary of typical nutritional values of the most common feeds used for Australian dairy cows. It covers over 160 feeds including cereal grains, protein meals and by products, as well as grazed and conserved pastures and other forages
Getting the diet right (PDF, 274KB)
These guidelines will help you decide what level of milk production you are going to feed for, as this will impact on the choices you make in planning the diet.
Mixing and delivering feed (PDF, 504KB)
Explains what equipment to use to mix and deliver feed to your herd, such as a front-end loader (tractor and bucket), silage cart or mixer wagon.
Summary report: a review of 11 applied dairy nutrition models used in Australia (PDF, 758KB)
For nutritionalists - 11 computer-based nutritional models which can be chosen to support your business with a greater understanding of its functionality, sensitivity to data inputs, and strengths and weaknesses.
Appendix: a review of 11 applied dairy nutrition models used in Australia. Technical details (PDF, 1MB)
Covers these models:
- Amino Cow.
- Cam Dairy.
- Diet Check.
- Feed into Milk.
- Dairy Predict.
Milk fat depression (PDF, 92KB)
It is now understood that incomplete bio-hydrogenation of excessive dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) (principally linoleic acid) by the ruminal microbes may play a major role in milk fat It is now understood that incomplete bio-hydrogenation of excessive dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) (principally linoleic acid) by the ruminal microbes may play a major role in milk fat depression. This document explains how milk fat depression can occur through incomplete bio-hydrogenation.