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Help me stave off bankrupcy {low milk production}

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cattleman25

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Hello I have 52 dairy cows and their production has been abysmal the last 7-8 months, however 2 days ago it dropped even lower after turning out 3 new heifers to the herd.
Now we are at a 30 pound per cow average and will have to sale very soon. I run a TMR mix and feed 2500 pound per day including water. I have went through 3 different nutritionist's and 4 different rations and can not think of anything else to do.

The cows have been on the same pasture for the last year and acorns have not came out yet so thats ruled out, I was reading somewhere that stray voltage could cause milk problems but I dont know how that is possible with their teats are only touching rubber.

We have had only 1 or 2 cases of mastitis in the last year, also all of our automatic take offs have been removed so they aren't the problem. Another thing i've thought about was maybe a noxious weed but we have had dairy cattle in the same field for at least 80 years without a problem, and the cows all look and act healthy and fat.

We don't usually leave out free choice mineral but yesterday I put out some super 12 and they gobbled it all up so I am going to have my tmr mix analyzed at a lab.
What I don't know is what to do from there, I think Ive talked to all the local nutritionists, their solution is always that you need to buy what they are selling. My question is are their any independent Nutritionists or extension people to help???


We are a century farm and have a well established herd of Holsteins and have been feeding first cutting alfalfa
here is my ration and ingredients if it helps, any supposedly this will make up 75 lbs per day at 3.1% butter fat
as fed
corn grain ground 55%
soybean meal 48% 2.5%
corn gluten feed dehy 20%
distillers ethanol 22%

calcium 8%
salt 16.8%
sodium 20.4%
magnesiusm 3.9
copper 1,276
selenium 18%
zinc 4,748
Vit A 347,000 iu/lb
Vit D 81,000 iu/lb
Vit E 906 iu/lb

This is adjusted based on the hay tests that I dont have but the mix is exactly half feed half alfalfa

Here is useful table of mineral information if any one else is having the same problem
http://74.125.95.132/search?q=cache...ace&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=4&gl=us&client=firefox-a

please reply soon thanks in advance
 

dun

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I've never figured out how the stray volatge deal happens either but I know that it can be a real problem. May be it comes back at them through the milk. Have your milker service rep check or have them put you in touch with someone that can check it for you. That at least will eliminate that as the cause.
What length is the roughage portion of the TMR chopped to. Less then 3 inches can cause problems. If you sell to a co-op they may be able to point you to a nutritionalist that doesn;t have an axe to grind.
 

regolith

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As far as I know stray voltage would be noticable as the cows fidget - I've never seen it myself. I just presumed they got it when they touched the rails or gates in the dairy. Calm cows during milking indicate no stray voltage problem.

eta: have you had your milking machines checked recently? Often the cows will tell you if they're not quite right, but you never know.
 

novaman

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Do you have an analysis of the TMR that is being fed to the cows. My nutritionist comes out and pulls a sample as I fill the feeders and does wet chemistry on it. He gives me a printout with all the information one could possibly need. I would look at such things as protein values, net energy of lactation, carbohydrates, starch, etc. You are feeding 2500 pounds, how much water are you adding? I am also curious about the fineness of the forage. If it gets too fine you will run into problems, especially with your ration at only 50% forage. My nutritionist has me using a ration consisting of 65% forage as it cheapens up the ration since less concentrates are required. Keep in mind I'm feeding high quality forage. If your feeding first cutting it may be somewhat low on quality, depending on how it was put up. You say production has been poor for 7-8 months. Have you had many fresh cows coming in? I would think over a span that long there would be some turnover and your production should be better than 30 pounds. You will know if you have stray voltage. I had an issue with it and the cows were very fidgety. They would be very dancy and crapped a lot in the parlor. I had the issue resolved and a majority of the cows are very calm with very little crapping in the parlor. Just hang in there. Things will get better.
 

jkwilson

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Water? How are they drinking? Stray voltage can show up in a water tank and greatly restrict water intake. If they don't drink enough they won't milk enough.
 

grannysoo

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jkwilson":2joxbw4j said:
Water? How are they drinking? Stray voltage can show up in a water tank and greatly restrict water intake. If they don't drink enough they won't milk enough.

I had some stray voltage last year at the water tank. I had noticed that there were problems with the cows not drinking enough and just didn't know why. Got out in the field and was checking my water tank and it knocked the be nice out of me. Figured out quick what the problem was...
 

LoveMoo11

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Do they have feed in front of them most of the time? It doesn't matter how good the ration is if the cows don't get enough. Push up their feed often to keep them interested. Make sure they are drinking enough. Keep the temp in the barn comfortable. Good luck, I hope you figure out what's wrong!
 

cowman30

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Well for one thing they are mineral deficient cuz you dont leave free choice mineral out for them. That is why they are gobbling it up.
 

milkmaid

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Lotta other factors here... if it's not feed related and not stray voltage, then something else is going on. Genetics, length of lactation, employees' treatment of the cows, udder health, time between milkings, other health issues such as hoof problems (long hooves or abcesses = pain, and pain takes energy, resulting in poor body condition and poor milk production), etc are all potential problems.
 

regolith

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cattleman25: have you figured out how much energy per cow you are feeding in that ration, plus the grass or whatever else they are getting?
(I use MJ/ME per kgDM which is all metric units)

I tried working it out. It looked very bad. Since you say the cows are fat and healthy... I'd rather think my calculations were wrong. The big issue was the alfalfa, which in my feed table has an ME of 8 (hay) or 9.5 (silage) making it a very low energy, bulky feed that will restrict intake of higher energy feeds. But TMRs and alfalfa are way out of my experience.
 

cattleman25

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Thanks everybody for the advice

Here are some things I have discovered in the last few days,

That I was feeding way to little water in the tmr our last nutritionist did not tell us the amount but this one has it listed as 1500 pounds not the 300 I had always put in.

When I put the bag of mineral in the tmr wagon I never cut it, despite having sickle bar teeth everywhere it took about 15 minutes to cut the bag open and spread it evenly.

A day or two after making these changes I recorded the following pound per the twice a day milking 700 afternoon 1200 morning 900 afternoon, and it is much better, but it is completely inconsistent the morning we got 1200 pound it was freezing and windy but the afternoon when it was 70 out we got 900.

We are back to the 4000 pound tank average that we had about a month ago but I have put about 6 cows in the herd since then and the grass has started to come up

Do you have an analysis of the TMR that is being fed to the cows. My nutritionist comes out and pulls a sample as I fill the feeders and does wet chemistry on it.
He does not do that for us but I drove 3 hours to drop it off at a lab and am awaiting results will post soon

I am also curious about the fineness of the forage. If it gets too fine you will run into problems, especially with your ration at only 50% forage. My nutritionist has me using a ration consisting of 65% forage as it cheapens up the ration since less concentrates are required. Keep in mind I'm feeding high quality forage. If your feeding first cutting it may be somewhat low on quality, depending on how it was put up.

I read somewhere that having hay that is less than 3 inches can be a problem, We have a guy come buy every couple of months to shred our hay and it is about 4-5 inches, but when it leaves the mixer wagon it is at or below 3 inches. What kind of problems would fineness cause something with the rumen???



You say production has been poor for 7-8 months. Have you had many fresh cows coming in? I would think over a span that long there would be some turnover and your production should be better than 30 pounds.
You are correct we were at 70 head then we dried up about 20 cows and although overall production dropped the per head amount stayed close to the same.

You will know if you have stray voltage. I had an issue with it and the cows were very fidgety.
I believe I can eliminate this as a possible cause then.

If your feeding first cutting it may be somewhat low on quality, depending on how it was put up
Last year was the best hay season we have had in over a decade the rain was perfectly timed and abundant, I was told by someone at MFA that they hay had grown to fast and was lacking some of the mineral content it should have had is this possible I've never heard of it???
Well for one thing they are mineral deficient cuz you dont leave free choice mineral out for them. That is why they are gobbling it up.
I talked to a friend about this, when I first put it out the whole herd was fighting to get to it like they were starved, the second bag I put out 4 days ago is still there.


cattleman25: have you figured out how much energy per cow you are feeding in that ration, plus the grass or whatever else they are getting?
(I use MJ/ME per kgDM which is all metric units)

I tried working it out. It looked very bad. Since you say the cows are fat and healthy... I'd rather think my calculations were wrong. The big issue was the alfalfa, which in my feed table has an ME of 8 (hay) or 9.5 (silage) making it a very low energy, bulky feed that will restrict intake of higher energy feeds. But TMRs and alfalfa are way out of my experience.
Thanks much for the input I had not considered that, once I get my lab results back I will scan them maybe that will help.
 

TexasBred

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Are you mixing in a vertical mixer wagon? 2500 lbs. "including water" for 50+ head. Break that down into water, grain and grain by-products and protein source, hay and alfalfa"....First off I don't think you're getting nearly enough dry matter intake and additionally a large percentage of the cattle may be experiencing acidosis. Milk protein exceeding butterfat level in milk is a key indicator. Let us know.
 

cowtipper

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Have your hoof guy check your feet. Blood in the hoof is a sure sign of acidosis.
 

TexasBred

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cowtipper":1693xxeq said:
Have your hoof guy check your feet. Blood in the hoof is a sure sign of acidosis.

If the hoof guy is already visiting the place and doing anything more than a little hoof maintenance it may already be too late for many of the cattle.
 
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