High corn prices are driving farmer interest in favor of feeding more high-quality forage in place of grain to their cows.
“This research is timely in responding to the need for farmers to reduce the use of corn in feed rations. Corn prices have reached all-time highs in recent years, and although they may trend downward due to high yields in 2013, prices are expected to remain higher than historical averages,” said Miner Institute President Dr. Rick Grant.
Grant added that a lower corn/starch diet does not compromise milk production. The search goes beyond simply increasing the dairy ration with grass/legume forage grown on regional farms.
Nonforage sources of fiber and fermentable carbohydrates for dairy rations include soybean hulls, beet pulp and wheat midds. Miner Institute is collaborating with Northeast Ag and Feed Alliance feed industry representatives to look at regional factors influencing dairy ration development. For example, large storage facilities along the St. Lawrence River offer citrus pulp, hominy and whole cottonseed supplies as potential dairy diet sources.
Researchers are also evaluating sources of distiller and wet brewer grains, and malt sprouts produced in Quebec, gluten feed produced in Ontario and New England bakery by-products.
When completed, the report will be available on at www.nnyagdev.org.