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What do cows eat?

Sep 1, 2019 | Dairy News

By Darin Strauss

Our cows’ diet is developed by a nutritionist in order to feed them the best diet possible. It’s a better diet than I eat, actually. We feed our cows like elite athletes. That way, they produce fresh, high-quality milk. Our cows eat a mixture of corn, hay, grain and nutritional supplements.

The nutritionist knows exactly how many nutrients are in our crops and how much the cows need.

For example, we grow hay. There is a sugar component in hay. Sugar is energy. If you get a big crop and then it rains, it can wash a certain percentage of that energy away. That’s why farmers work hard. They work late into the night to beat the next rain storm. We need the sugar in the hay to help it go through a curing period. We need certain numbers to meet a cow’s nutritional needs in a cost effective manner. If everything goes right, there is a nice fermentation process. If you don’t get the sugar in the crop, you don’t get fermentation.

When we grow a crop, it is based on getting that crop to a certain quality. None of it is in our control. We won’t know the nutrient content until October. Farming requires an optimistic attitude that Mother Nature will cooperate. It’s always a gamble, but it pays off when we see our cows enjoying their fresh, high-quality feed every day.

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