1YesNoIs there enough space for all cows and others on the lot to eat at the same time when fresh feed is placed in the feedbunk? (Milking cows should have 24 inches/cow and fresh cows 30 inches/cow.)
2YesNoIs there feed (not corn cobs or fibrous pieces of forage) in the feedbunk the next time you feed your cows? Between two and five percent of the total daily delivered feed should remain after 24 hours.
3YesNoDo your cows have access to their feed 20 hours a day?
If you feed a TMR:

4YesNoIf you feed your cows using a TMR mixer, do you check the accuracy of the scales once a week?
5YesNoIf you feed your cows using a TMR mixer, has your nutritionist checked the particle size of the TMR mixture?
6YesNoDoes the TMR mixer deliver a consistent feed the entire length of the feed bunk?
If you feed grain to individual cows either in a tie stall barn, parlor, or robot
7YesNoHave you calibrated the amount of grain delivered and consumed within the past two months?
8YesNo

If you mix your own grain mix, do you check the accuracy of the scale on the grinder mixer before you mix a batch of feed?

General Questions
9YesNoDo you have your feed company test your silage each time you change silos or bags?
10YesNoDo you have a forage analysis on the hay you are currently feeding your milking cows?
11YesNoDo you clean out the waterers for the milking herd weekly?
12YesNoWhen your cows are lying down resting, are 60 to 75% of them chewing their cuds?
13YesNoHas your nutritionist balanced a ration for the milking cows within the last two months?
14YesNoDoes your balanced ration reflect the quality and type of forages you are feeding the milking herd currently?
15YesNoHave you compared the amounts to be fed on the balanced ration to the amount of each feed your cows are actually consuming currently?
16YesNoDo you call your nutritionist and ask them to rebalance your ration when you know you will be changing forages in the next three weeks?
17YesNoHave you had the hay and other forages fed to your dry cows and heifers tested for its nutrient content?
18YesNoHave you had your nutritionist balance a ration for your dry cows using the results from the forage analyses?
19YesNoHave you had your nutritionist balance rations for your heifers using the analysis of your forage analyses?
20YesNoIf your dry cows are fed free-choice mineral, is there always mineral in the feeder when you come back to add more mineral?
21YesNoDo you manage your dry cows as two separate groups (one group after dry off and the other group within 3 weeks before expected calving date)?
22YesNoDo you feed your cows a special diet before calving to help prevent milk fever and other fresh cow problems?

Scoring: Count number of times you answered yes

 

18 or more yes responses— Excellent management of your cows’ feeding management program

 

15 or more yes responses– Good management but there are areas to fine tune

Less than 15- Please take a few minutes to review the feeding and management practices for your herd


Author: Donna Amaral-Phillips

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