What Do Dairy Cows Eat?

what do dairy cows eat

You may be wondering what do dairy cows eat. Here’s a look at the typical diet of these creatures. The total mixed ration consists of a mixture of grass silage, corn silage, and byproducts of the human food supply such as soybean meal and cottonseed hulls. It may surprise you to learn that cows are also fed minerals. If you’re wondering why dairy cows get so much Vitamin A and C, they’re probably eating too much corn.

Chewy Online Pet Supplies

35% Off at Chewy.com

+ Free Shipping

Save Now



The amount of forage a dairy cow eats will greatly impact its performance and milk revenue. Forages have many nutrient values, and many of these nutrients are related to the moisture in the forage. Using moisture analysis, producers can target the nutrients their cows need, while also making sure that their forages are well-balanced. In addition, moisture analysis allows farmers to create target milk rations (TMRs) for high-milk-producing dairy cows.

Depending on the type of pastures, energy intake can also rise dramatically. Forages containing higher protein content can be offered as grain silage or corn meal. Other options are beet pulp or molasses. Using grains to supplement forage can quickly offset the cost. But it’s crucial to manage forages in a manner that minimizes the risk of anti-nutrients. If you want your dairy cows to perform at their best, you must keep in mind that their diet must be healthy and free of anti-nutrients.


Hay is what dairy cows eat to keep them healthy. This variety of grasses is not only delicious but also nutritious. In fact, it is so nutritious that cows will eat it twice a day. The benefits of hay are many, including better milk quality and meat that tastes better than ordinary cow feed. However, not all cows have access to sufficient pasture. This is why some dairy farmers feed hay to their cows to improve the taste of their milk and meat.

Among the benefits of hay for dairy cows are its high fiber content. Fiber is essential for dairy cattle and aids in the rumen’s function. Fiber helps keep the rumen mat healthy, while it also promotes chewing and saliva production. Hay also contains phosphorus, a crucial nutrient for dairy cows. This mineral is necessary for energy transfer and stronger bones and teeth. However, feeding hay that has been stored in barns for a long time is not advisable. It can harm the livestock keepers as well. Some people may also develop allergies to hay.

Corn silage

If you’re wondering what dairy cows eat, it’s probably corn silage. The digestibility of corn silage is an important factor for milk production and overall dairy cattle performance. According to Dr. Luiz Ferraretto, ruminant nutrition specialist with the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Department of Dairy Science & Extension, corn silage in 2020 will have a high starch digestibility, compared to that of corn harvested in 2019.

The amount of starch present in corn silage will influence the rumen microbes and ultimately, dairy cow performance. Additionally, the degree of kernel processing will affect the quality of corn silage. There are a variety of different kinds of corn silage for dairy cows, depending on their growth rate and milk production. For high-producing dairy cows, corn silage containing high levels of starch is needed. Conversely, milk production will decrease in low-producing dairy cows and heifers, which consume corn silage high in energy and protein.

Mineral supplement

A mineral supplement for dairy cows improves their reproductive and production efficiency. According to Garg and Sherasia, mineral mixture supplementation in Zebu dairy cows improves milk production and inter-calving intervals. This in turn enhances their life-time productivity in developing countries. Mineral supplementation for dairy cows was recommended by the USDA for a variety of reasons. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the nutritional and economic impact of mineral supplementation.

This dairy cow mineral supplement is made by a veterinarian in New Zealand. The product provides a daily drench or water system for cows. The container should be kept in a cool, dry place, out of the reach of children, and replace the cap once use is complete. The product contains a chelated form of minerals, which helps in maintaining normal calcium levels. It is best used in rations containing legumes, as these are naturally rich sources of calcium.