Match minerals to the forage analysis
Feeding a good quality dry cow mineral is a key component of successful dry cow management. Getting mineral nutrition right at this stage is important for cow and calf health.
Mineral supplementation of the dry cow will be dictated by the mineral profile of the base forage, which, in most cases, will be grass silage.
Farmers should analyse their dry cow forage annually to assess its nutritive value.
Every three to four years, the forage should be analysed to its mineral profile and formulate appropriate supplementation.
In 2009, Teagasc, in conjunction with Trouw Nutrition, conducted a survey of farms across the country to establish the mineral status of grass silage.
The results showed a decrease in the concentration of many of the major elements in grass silage, compared to a similar survey conducted in the early 1990s.
This highlights the importance of carrying out mineral analysis of silage regularly for individual farms.
The key parameters to follow in forage analysis are: