Dairy industry experts offer many suggestions about ration formulation and feeding management; however, it is unclear what practices are being followed. This study used an electronic survey to gather information about feeding management and the use of by-product feeds in rations from a subset of Pennsylvania dairy farms in 2013. The survey was sent to 200 dairy farms via e-mail, and 41 surveys were completed. All survey responses were based on the month of September 2013. This was not a random sampling. These herds were selected from the Penn State Extension database. Most (97.6%) survey respondents fed a TMR. About half (48.8%) fed one TMR to all lactating cows, and 48.8% fed more than one TMR to lactating cows. More than half (58.5%) of the respondents fed a 60:40 forage-to-concentrate ratio. Distillers grains, brewer's grains, and yeasts were the most commonly used by-product feeds. Most responding producers analyzed DM in the recommended interval of every other week (biweekly) or once a week (60.9%). Most TMR and forage nutrient testing was done when switching feed types or silos except for by-product commodity feeds, which most producers never tested. Most (75.6%) dairy producers used PC Dart as a management tool. Dairy producers that responded to the survey were successful at feed management, but increasing the amount of nutrient testing on by-product feeds and the use of dairy data analysis tools could improve their success.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Food Science
- Animal Science and Zoology