Why Total Mixed Rations (TMR)? Traditional dairy feeding fed forages and grain (supplements and minerals) separately. Grain fed to milk production in the parlor, and later using computer feeders. With breeding improvement, peak cows required 50-60 % grain, and >30 lbs/day, causing health and production problems. Grain meals greater than 8 lbs causes digestive upset and health problems. TMR keeps all ingredients in proportion.
Physically effective fiber At the same time as milk production and grain feeding increased, ensiling experts promoted smaller forage particle size to improve silage packing and fermentation. Problems arose with depressed milk fat, sub- acute ruminal acidosis (SARA) and displaced abomasums. Feeding some long forage alleviated part of the problem
Why put long forage into a TMR? Long forage provides effective fiber to promote chewing, prevent digestive upset and increase milk fat production. However, it must incorporated into a particle size distribution that resists separation. Even longer material in bunker silos must be incorporated adequately to provide a uniform mix that will also resist sorting. In beef cattle, incorporating baled forage into a TMR reduces wastage and improves performance up to 30%.
Sorting behavior Inherent cattle behavior (for ingredient selection while grazing). Ingredient preferences. Learned behavior, hard to stop once successful. Strongest in late lactation and older cows. Aided by excessively long particles in TMR.
Effects of sorting behavior Affects both sorter and non-sorters. Increases intake of rapidly fermented ingredients in sorters. Low milk fat, increased milk protein, SARA, feet problems, displ. abomasums, fat cows. Decreases the energy content of remaining diet for non-sorters. Thin cows, decreases peak milk production.
Test weighing accuracy and precision Clean and inspect weigh bars Find a helper Weigh yourself over each weigh bar with mixer empty. Repeat with mixer full. Average of empty and full weights should be within 10 lbs. No weigh bar should differ consistently from others, high or low.
How do we measure mix uniformity? Mix uniformity ultimately involves three components, and thus two-three measures First, ensuring we have equal distribution of all ingredients (esp. grain (starch) vs. forage or digestible fiber) (markers, chemical analysis?). Second, ensuring we have equal distribution of all major nutrient groups, i.e. protein, fat, fiber, mineral (chemical analysis). Finally, ensuring we have a uniform and acceptable particle size distribution that will prevent sorting (PSPS) and unmixing.
Ingredient sequencing (Vertical) Add long forage first (esp. baled hay. Include liquid or water to aid processing) Follow with silage and/or wet by products Add protein supplement and grains Pre-weigh and add premixes and specialty ingredients with grains Generally add liquid ingredients last
Order of byproduct addition Source: Bierman 2008
Liquid add site affects mix uniformity Source: Oelberg 2009.
Refusals reflect resistance to ingredient separation Source: Oelberg 2009. Mixer type not described.
The Jaylor Advantage The ability to process long forage into a uniform mix in a minimum amount of time, to create dairy rations with optimal levels of effective fiber that are resistant to sorting.