What is TTNDFD and why does it matter?

TTNDFD, or Total Tract NDF Digestibility, is a tool that combines feed and cow factors to measure energy from fiber. It was developed by Dr. Dave Combs of the University of Wisconsin with help from then-graduate student Dr. John Goeser, currently of Rock River Labs. Where does TTNDFD come from? It is a calculation that uses several time points of NDF-D (24, 30, 48 hour) combined with the rate of fiber digestion, the rate of fiber passage and also indigestible fiber, therefore giving a better picture of fiber digestibility as a whole. The calculation is calibrated to a cow producing 85 pounds of milk. Several studies confirm that the calculation matches what the cows are telling us about true NDF digestibility. Important facts to know about TTNDFD Corn silage and alfalfa samples have an average TTNDFD of 42%, whereas grasses have an average of 45%. The goal is to have forages that are higher than 48%. A 2-3 unit change in TTNDFD corresponds to a one pound change in milk yield. Forage samples can have similar analysis’ including percent NDF, but differ greatly in TTNDFD. How can we utilize this new innovative tool? There are several situations where you might consider using TTNDFD on your samples. Anticipating a change in quality of forage from known harvest differences Changing varieties or types of forages (Read more on how to utilize TTNDFD when changing forages) Troubleshooting rations where management factors are not limiting production Evaluating forage inventories for other forage and/or commodity purchasing decisions Adding/removing or increasing/decreasing digestible fiber sources based on TTNDFD results Rock River Labs and ANC currently offer this...

Predicting a Target Date for First Cutting

Harvesting spring hay crops can be challenging. Grasses and alfalfa reach the ideal stage of maturity in May, however, finding a period of weather in the month of May that allows the plants to dry down to 65% moisture after mowing is not easy. Therefore, harvesting the crop at the optimum stage of maturity and moisture can be a tough balancing act. Dairy farmers that consistently make high quality first cutting year after year have learned how to find the small windows of opportunity to mow and dry the crop. These outstanding farmers know how to anticipate the weather, and they time their harvest accordingly. At times it seems they are just lucky, but studying weather patterns shows there is a somewhat predictable date when the weather is most likely to be dry, creating an opening to make high-quality forage. The table below was generated by evaluating the average rainfall in May for the years 2008 through 2013 for five regions of the country. There is indeed a reasonably predictable date when weather is dry, which allows the forage to dry in a timely fashion. This date varies from region to region. Another interesting observation is that the wettest weather in May often occurs on days 7 to 14 after this dryer spell. This means that farmers that miss the “target date” risk having to wait an additional 10 to 20 days to mow, which allows the crop to continue to mature and become less digestible. Location Target Date for First Cutting Common Date of Heavy Rainfall Decorah, IA May 15 May 22 to May 29 Eau Claire, WI...

Standard Operating Procedures in Calf Care Programs

In addition to our posts about newborn nutrition and going beyond nutrition for calves with newborn calf checklists, we will review why calf care protocols will help you raise your calves successfully. Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) provide a framework for what needs to be done everyday, not only with calves, but across a farm. In our third post about Rosy-Lane Holsteins’ calf care program, we will highlight the advantages of having an SOP. The SOP guides staff through a framework of expectations and provides answers if questions arise as to how things should be done. When utilized, SOPs are a great resource for everyone working with calves. “We have the calf barn SOPs posted and are able to refer to them easily. If you forget how something should be done, it is a good reference. It is also a tool to hold everyone accountable to how it is supposed to be done,” says Tracy Loos, calf care manager at Rosy-Lane Holsteins. “We use it as a reference to make sure the staff is doing exactly the same things every time with every calf.” “The calf SOPs are designed around what we find works best for the calves,” Tracy continues. “When the SOPs are followed exactly, we know the calves are likely to be healthier day in and day out. It’s a good quality control point.” Daphne Holterman, Rosy-Lane partner and calf care advisor, explains, “You have to get each calf off to the best possible start. 100% of these things have to get done 100% of the time. If you fall down on one of those things, it’s likely...

Accomplish Consistent Newborn Nutrition with Calf Feeding Protocols

Last week we highlighted a newborn calf checklist that Goes Beyond Nutrition. This week, we will focus in on newborn calf nutrition and how Rosy-Lane Holsteins handles feedings. In their calf program, the following protocol is used for the first six feedings of a newborn’s life: Since the first feeding is on the bedding pack by a different staff person, the newborn checklist written about in last week’s post is referenced by calf barn staff to determine when to feed the second time (12 hours after first colostrum). Tracy Loos, calf care manager, notes, “Especially at night when we don’t have staff in the calf barn, I know exactly what went on overnight. The checklist is good communication to have.” After the first six feedings, calves continue on the standard feeding for all of Rosy-Lane’s calves. From 2-½ to 7 days of age, calves are fed milk replacer twice a day in a 2-quart bottle. From 8-60 days of age, calves are fed 3 quarts of milk replacer. However, if scouring, calves are not moved to 3 quarts until they are 11-12 days old. Small amounts of fresh grain are offered starting at day 2-3, although it may take 7-14 days for calves to start consuming anything measurable. Tracy and the calf barn staff closely monitor milk and grain consumption, and in addition, give calves electrolytes when necessary. Overall, consistency and attention to detail are important for each activity that take place in the calf barn, whether it is feedings, vaccinations, bedding or record-keeping. For assistance in improving your newborn calf nutrition program, contact ANC today! Click here to see...
ANC National Sales Meeting – April 10-11th

ANC National Sales Meeting – April 10-11th

Agri-Nutrition Consulting LLC will hold its biannual National Sales Meeting at the ANC office in DeForest, WI on April 10th and 11th, 2014.  The theme of the meeting is “Going Beyond Nutrition through Innovative Solutions” and is designed to train our consultants on the innovative solutions they can use to help clients “Go Beyond” on their farms. ANC has scheduled a jam-packed meeting, sure to leave consultants even more prepared to face the challenges of the dairy industry today.  A few of the speakers and topics include:   BMR Corn Silage Feeding Strategies – Dr. Bill Stone, DVM, PhD  Bill is the Technical Service Director/Field Research from Diamond V.  He grew up on a beef and hog farm in southeastern Wisconsin. After obtaining a veterinary degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1987, he practiced veterinary medicine for three years in a dairy practice in Monroe, Wisconsin. Bill entered a graduate program at Cornell University in 1990, with a focus on dairy cattle nutrition and management. After completing his doctoral program he operated his own dairy nutritional/management consulting business based from and primarily serving central New York. Bill worked in a veterinary herd health/nutrition position with the PRO-DAIRY program at Cornell University from 1998 to 2007 before joining Diamond V. His primary areas of interest are forage management, all aspects of dairy cattle nutrition, dairy records analysis, and identification of bottlenecks on dairies. Increase your Bottom Line with Dairy Beef – Daniel Kohls, P.A.S. Daniel Kohls is a team leader and field nutritionist at Form-A-Feed, Inc., working directly with beef and dairy clients and joint ventures.  Areas of focus and responsibility...