Forage Nutrient Scoring using Critical Control

Callie Courtney, Dairy Production Consultant, Purina Animal Nutrition (563) 880-3080

All American Co-op has teamed up with Chr. Hansen to measure current management practices and recommend possible improvements using the Nutrient Scorecard Program. This program uses Critical Control Points (CCP) in forage management on dairy to evaluate your ensiled feed; analyzing areas including face management, surface management, cover integrity, discard feed management, density, kernel processing score, particle length, fecal starch and fermentation analysis. This program gives dairy producers a scientific scorecard summary of the status of their silage and their herd’s digestive performance, along with recommendations for improving milk production and herd health based on CCP.

Most CCP for forages include:

  • Greater total nutrient yield per acre
  • Control of the forage process
  • Preservation of nutrients
  • Improved nutrient value

During the evaluation process we begin by identifying the CCP’s on your farm. We then discuss what we can control for each CCP deciding which CCP’s will improve production efficiency and provide a positive return on investment. By answering these questions we can implement forage practices that yield more milk per acre. Harvest CCP’s for forages include stage of maturity, target harvest moisture, particle size/chop length in relation to future milk production. Storage or ensiling CCP’s in forages include rapid silo filling, optimum packing, and timely covering to seal the feed from oxygen. Bunker/pile density, silage fermentation profiles, presence of yeast and molds, and ash levels are all measurements to evaluate the CCP’s for the filling and storage process. Other CCP’s to consider are top silage layer free of molds and yeast, proper face management, and minimizing shrink.

Getting Started:
Dairy producers can contact the All American Co-op or any member of our dairy consultant team to schedule a time for their on farm evaluation. This service is offered free of charge and can be conducted with a Chr. Hansen forage expert. Once you are scheduled we will come to your farm to measure and sample for independent lab testing of silage quality and cow digestion performance. Visual and on farm measurements of several silage storage parameters. A walk through of the lactating cows includes an evaluation of TMR quality, feeding management, and manure parameters. Laboratory testing is utilized to validate information from the on-site evaluation.

The Nutrient Scorecard provides a score that can help identify problem areas and opportunities for improvement. The scorecard provides ongoing data and insights that can be used to make measurable improvements in CCP’s within a dairy operation.

There are many other CCP’s that are measured by the Nutrient Scorecard. All of these factors affect the sustainability of a dairy operation. They all help drive increased efficiency. The Nutrient Scorecard system measures CCP’s and provides recommendations to improve management practices for ongoing
improvements, and measures the successes of these management changes. Additional CCP’s are being evaluated and measurement systems continue to be developed; such as on farm fiber digestion, as an added component of the Nutrient Scorecard for the future.

Please feel free to contact me at or call me on my cell at (563) 880-3080 with any questions or to schedule your Nutrient Scorecard. I look forward to helping you make the best feed possible for your dairy operation. Happy June Dairy Month to all of you!

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