We are very picky about what our cows eat. The girls eat a more nutritious and balanced diet than we do! We have a nutritionist that we work with on a regular basis, he visits the farm about every three weeks. Tom’s job is to make a feed recipe that balances the feed we grow with the feeds we can buy.
We grow grass and corn. Both of these are harvested as silage. That means that the whole plant is chopped into little pieces, about ½ an inch long and then fermented to preserve it. We pack the feed into long concrete silos to store it. This makes up about 50% of what the milk cows eat.
We send samples of our grass and corn silage to a laboratory in Maryland to have it analyzed for protein, energy, and mineral content. It is then Tom our nutritionist’s job to balance the feed with purchased grains and minerals to meet the cows needs.
Most of the grains we buy are left over products of our food manufacturing industry. Here is what we use in our grain mix. Canola a protein grain that is left over after making vegetable oil (canola oil). Ground bread an energy source made from stale unsold bread. Soy bean meal a protein source that is left after making vegetable oil (soy bean oil). Brewers grain a protein source that is the grain left after making beer, this comes from the Budweiser brewery in Merrimack. Distillers grain, the grain left after making whiskey and ethanol. Fat for energy this is left over vegetable oil from deep frying in the restaurant industry. We also feed some cornmeal after we balance for everything else and still need some more energy in the diet. These grains makes up the other 50% of what the cows eat.
The cows are fed twice a day and we keep fresh feed for the cows to eat at all times. Our milking cows eat 13 tons of feed a day.