This five-point scale was developed in Michigan and should be the basis for scoring:
- Manure has consistency of pea soup (includes cows with diarrhea). Excess protein, starch, mineral or lack of fiber could be factors. Excess urea in the hindgut could also be drawing water into the manure.
- Manure is runny, measures less than 1” in height, and splatters on ground/concrete. Cows on lush pasture or those with low fiber diets may have this score.
- Optimal score. Manure is porridge-like, creates 1.5-2” stack, has several concentric rings with small depression in middle, and plops when hits ground/concrete.
- Thicker manure, stacking up over 2”. Dry cows and older heifers could have this score, possibly resulting from low-quality forages and/or protein shortage.
- Manure appears as “firm fecal balls.” Straw-based diet, digestive blockage, or dehydration could lead to this type of manure.
University of Illinois).
In addition to careful feed analysis, taking a look at your herd’s manure may prove a valuable tool when analyzing your ration and herd health.
To read the complete article, click on the source link below:
Source: “What can manure tell you about the ration?” article by
Karen Lee. Progressive Dairyman, July 1, 2010 issue.