What Does it Take to Feed a Cow?

The cows at Cow Palace Dairy in Sunnyside, Washington eat almost 100 pounds of exact feed mix every day, 56 pounds of which are dry matter feed. The feed is a combination of forages: alfalfa hay, corn silage, alfalfa silage, corn, and byproduct grains like beet pulp and cotton seed. Cotton seed seems like a strange food for cows to eat, but they're a little fuzzy seed packed full of essential nutrients. All of thesse ingredients are mixed together in a feed truck to create an exact recipe. That way, every bite a cow takes is the same, ensuring she gets all the nutrients she needs to keep her happy, healthy, and producing good milk. 


Video Transcript:

It takes a lot of feed to feed a cow. Our cows average 56 pounds of dry matter intake and we feed them about a fifty percent dry matter ration, so they're eating about a hundred pounds of food a day. The food is a lot of forages. We feed them alfalfa hay, corn silage, alfalfa silage. We feed them corn, and we feed them some byproduct grains: beet pulp, cotton seed. Cotton seed's kind of a different product that you wouldn't think that cows would eat. But it's actually just little fuzzy seeds and they're a very excellent nutrition source because they have a lot of different nutrients in it for the cows. That's all mixed together in a big feed truck and that's called a total mixed ration. We have exact ingredients that we put in there that's balanced by a PhD nutritionist. And we put those exact ingredients into the truck and we mix it all together and blend it all together. And then we lay it in front of the cow. Every bite she takes is the same. And that makes her healthier if she can get the same bite every time because she needs those forages to keep her stomach healthy.