Feeding Straw – Dairy Cows

What are the benefits of feeding straw to your herd?

Feeding straw to dry dairy cows has become a popular strategy to decrease dietary energy content and increase the bulk fill of the ration. The key reasons for doing this are to maintain pre-calving dry matter intake and to keep the rumen expanded to avoid a displaced abomasum post calving.

In addition to the dry cow diet more, and more producers are finding a place for it in the milking cow rations. Straw is being fed to lactating cows to add physically effective neutral detergent fibre (peNDF) to the ration. Physically effectice NDF is defined specifically as the fraction of fibre that stimulates chewing and contributes to the floating mat of large particles in the rumen.

Being based in the SW this is by far our most popular operation. Since the introduction of this service it has allowed our clients to feed greater quantities of straw into the milking and dry cow ration (some in excess of 8kg/day for the latter!).

Due to the consistent chop length achieved only from a tub grinder it allows for easy mixing into a TMR. Our service will save you several hours a week of downtime trying to chop straw through your conventional chopper or more commonly diet feeder that will generally produce an inferior product.

Cows fed hammer milled straw will get the amount you desire as it mixes well and due to this they are unable to sort this in the trough. Straw is no longer a cheap bi-product and due to its importance in the ration knowing how to utilise this commodity efficiently will lead to greater results.