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Supplementation of the dairy cow may become necessary when:

  • Forage quality is sub-optimal and supplements are used to correct the situation;
  • Forage quantity is deficient and supplements are being used to correct the deficiency.

The profitability of feeding supplement depends on the milk response per unit of supplement and the cost of the supplement compared to the milk price.

The milk yield response depends on the cow’s genetic merit for milk production and it tends to decrease when the cow is well fed on pasture.

The Teagasc Dairy Manual  Feeding the Diary Cow  (PDF Format), (523KB), Chapter 34 focuses on nutrition guidelines for the dairy cow at different stages in the lactation cycle.

Feeding the Diary Cow Concentrate  (PDF Format), (621KB), Chapter 35 details the different types of supplement for feeding the dairy cow.

High energy feedstuffs can be classified as either forages or supplements:

 Guidelines on feeding sugar beet to dairy cow.