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Feed Additives: Which, When, and Why
by Michael F. Hutjens, Department of Animal Sciences, University of Illinois
Feeding high producing cows continues to challenge dairy farmers and nutritionists. Also, dairy profit margins vary as milk prices and feed costs shift yearly. Feed costs represent the largest input cost to produce milk (estimated to be 35 to 50 percent). Feed additives are a group of feed ingredients that can cause a desired animal response in a nonnutrient role such as pH shift, growth, or metabolic modifier (Hutjens, 1991). Several feed additives contain nutrients such as sodium in sodium bicarbonate or protein in yeast culture. Feed additives are not a requirement or guarantee for high productivity or profitability.
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