Submitted to: Symposium Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/15/2006
Publication Date: 10/10/2006
Citation: Hall, M. 2006. The cows are always right! Evaluating rations. In: Proceedings of the 5th Annual Arizona Dairy Production Conference, October 10, 2006, Tempe, Arizona. p. 1-7.
Technical Abstract: Much of the focus on ration evaluaton has been on herd production and health records and on feed analyses. However, these pieces of information must be evaluated in the context of the variety of factors that may affect the cows. An important part of evaluating a ration is actually assessing the feeds, management, herd environment, and interaction of the cows and what they are fed. This involved evaluating cow behavior (rumination, feed sorting), cow health, bunk management, manure evaluation, water availability, cow appearance, cow comfort, feed availability, feed quality, etc. The information gathered should be used to build a case: do the variety of pieces of information point in the same direction and describe what is occurring in the herd, or do you need to seek further information to understand what is going on? The complete story provides a body of evidence for what does or does not need to be modified within the ration, management, or the herd's environment.