For every dairy farmer, the quantity and quality of milk the cattle produce is an important factor that helps in bringing a profitable income. Milk production depends on the type of cattle breed and the nutrition they receive. It is largely affected by factors such as what kind of food the cattle eat, the quantity & quality of feed, how they are fed, feeding and growing environment and the methods used to nurture the cattle.
Quality milk refers to the highly nutritious milk that is free of abnormal colour & odour. To increase the quality and quantity of milk production, dairy farmers must create a hygienic shelter, select the quality feed, adopt the correct feeding methods and provide regular veterinary services. Offering a quality diet is the most important factor that directly affects milk production.
Quality feed & essential nutrients
The fodder provided to the cattle as feed in their rations or consumed by them while grazing is a great source of crude protein and fiber. Fiber provides a significant energy source for body growth and milk production. Adding a considerable amount of roughage in fodder increases the level of fat in milk and improves digestion. Crops such as maize and molasses also act as energy supplements to the animals.
A feed with protein content helps in building a strong body and in producing quality milk. Legumes, grasses, corn and soybeans are excellent sources of protein that can feed the cattle. Minerals like calcium, potassium and phosphorus and vitamins such as A, D & E also play an important role in milk production and efficient organ functioning of cattle. All such essential vitamins and minerals must be supplied abundantly to overcome the shortage of desirable nutrients.
Importance of compound feed
A high-quality compound cattle feed is manufactured using good quality grains and other additives. Such a processed feed has a long shelf-life and is resistant to spoilage.
The major ingredients of compound feeds include molasses, salt, oil cakes, and brands that provide the essential protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals to enhance cattle’s health conditions and productivity.
Compound feed helps in increasing milk production and the fat content of milk. They are comparatively cheaper and highly efficient. About 1kg of compound feed can be fed safely to growing animals. You can provide an additional amount of these feed products to support their body maintenance and milk production for milking animals.
Total Mix Ration
A total mix ration (TMR) is a dietary mix that includes good quality forage, various grasses and grains that provide all the essential nutrients for animal growth. These animal feed products are generally prepared by mixing hay, silages, grains and straw in a mixer wagon. TMR helps in increasing milk production and maintaining good reproductive health. Animals fed with TMR require only a small amount of green fodder and straw.
Right feeding methods to boost milk production
An adequate concentration of essential nutrients in the right amount is required for the cows to produce quality milk in higher quantities. So, it is essential to consider the digestibility of feed and the intake capacity of the animal. Animal’s voluntary feed intake depends on breed, type of feed and other factors. For example, voluntary information might depend on the rise and fall in ambient temperature. The changing seasons can also impact natural food resources and water supply availability, so adjustments are to be made in the feed rations accordingly.
Apart from fodder, grains are also used as energy supplements. Energy intake impacts the milk yield and reproduction of all adult cows. However, high levels of grains can cause metabolic disturbances. So, to avoid such a problem, feed with fat content can be added to the rations.
Nutritional supplements focus on increasing the weight, muscle to fat ratio and growth rate. Nutritive additives enhance fibre digestion and rumen microbial protein production, resulting in increased milk production.
Apart from providing a balanced diet, the dairy animals also must be supplied with enough water. Water supply in abundant amounts helps in boosting milk production and keeping them hydrated and healthy.