The Access to Pasture final rule (February 17, 2010) says that all certified organic ruminant animals must be allowed to pasture and graze daily throughout the grazing season. Dry matter intake is an important connected issue.
Dry matter intake (DMI) is the amount of feed a cow consumes per day on a moisture-free basis. The dry issue comes into play because fresh pasture has a high water content as compared to dry feed. In order to figure out the most accurate animal nutrient intake, and to more easily compare and regulate feed nutrients across the board, animal diets must be calculated moisture-free, not calculated with added water.
In organic terms, dry matter intake calculations helps ensure that organic livestock producers are following the access to pasture rule. DMI calculations in organic production must show that organic ruminants receive an average of 30% or more of their dry matter intake (DMI) from grazing in pasture.
An added benefit of keeping good DMI records and calculations is that producers can better allocate forage resources for the entire grazing season.
Helpful tips for calculating dry matter intake: