While rising milk component levels have many contributing factors, it appears this year’s corn silage will likely help producers further optimize fat and protein in milk. Panelists during the December 8 Hoard’s Dairyman DairyLivestream discussed the growing emphasis placed on components and how they expect this year’s crop to help the cause.
“The long-term trend has been increasing components. In October, across all orders, we had 4% butterfat for the month and 3.26% protein,” detailed Cornell University’s Chris Wolf. “Not only is that true, but a lot of the farm’s expenses are based on hundredweight (cwt.) and not components.”
Expenses from hauling to promotion to even base excess programs are calculated on hundredweights of milk shipped. For that reason, Wolf said that producers are encouraged and incentivized to make the great strides in component production that we have seen in the past five to 10 years.
This year’s corn crop cooperating
Factors like cattle genetics are important to potential for component production. However, nutrition, and in particular feed ingredients, can also carry a lion’s share of the influence on fat and protein levels in milk.
“We’re certainly hearing accounts of incredibly high component levels like that example of 4.5% or 4.6% butterfat Holstein herds and 3.1% or 3.3% protein Holstein herds,” Rock River Laboratory’s John Goeser commented. “We’ve got really high levels.
“I would love to tell you that rumen nutritionists are just that good, but we think a lot of this has to do with the crop quality this year,” he continued. “We have just a little bit more moderate starch digestion coupled with average to above average fiber digestion.”
This combination suggests farms will continue to see strong component production. Goeser did leave this warning related to the high production.
“So, we have this unique crop that is giving us this unique outcome in performance, but pay attention to your intakes as well,” Goeser cautioned. “We need to look at production relative to our intakes to make sure we’re not giving up some in terms of feed efficiency with this year’s crop.”
To watch the recording of the December 8 DairyLivestream, go to the link above. The program recording is now also available as an audio-only podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and downloadable from the Hoard’s Dairyman website.
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