FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
We're not only nutrition experts, but we're always on the cutting edge of innovation. Sharing some commonly asked Jaylor questions may clear some things up for you. Please feel free to ask any other questions you may have.
What order should I add ingredients into my Jaylor TMR mixer?
How long should I be mixing for?
How often should I be moisture testing wet forages and by-products?
Can I feed free-choice forage?
Can I top-dress my high production cows?
What is the correct way to change batch size?
How do I know if the mix coming out of the wagon is the same as the mix on paper?
Should I take the knives out of my mixer?
What size of mixer should I buy?
The proper order for loading your Jaylor TMR mixer is:
1. Light, fluffy ingredients such as dry hay, straw, large round or square bales.
2. The rest of the forages (typically haylage, corn silage, barlage)
3. Grains, proteins, premixes and feed additives.
Most mixers call for 3 to 10 minutes of mixing time, at an optimal speed of 1000 to 1500 RPM, after all the ingredients have been added. Over mixing will cause separation of ingredients especially if the mix is dry. Over mixed feed will reduce forage particle size, and pulverize the feed; leading to digestive upset, displaced abomasums, laminitis and reduced butter fat. Start the mixer either as you start to load your ingredients or at sometime during the loading process. Make sure you monitor your mix carefully.
TMR programs feed cows a specific amount of forage and wet by-products. This has its obvious advantages, but it also has disadvantages; the disadvantage can occur if the moisture content of the forage and wet by-products is not watched constantly.
For example, if the TMR calls for 22.7 kg of haylage at 50% moisture this provides 11.35 kg of dry matter. But, if the moisture of the haylage changes to 60%, this would provide 9.0 kg of dry matter, leaving the ration considerably deficient in fiber.
Large dairy farms will test wet forages and by-products daily. Most successful dairy producers with TMR mixers' check the moisture of the wet feed ingredients about once a week.
Baled hay fed separately from the TMR can be necessary if there is a shortage of effective fibre in the TMR. Generally, nutritionists agree that feeding up to 2 kg of hay separately from the TMR is acceptable.
However, feeding hay separately can cause more problems than it prevents. The problem occurs when cows are given a choice between the TMR and baled hay.
In order to meet fiber requirements, a cow must consume her specified amount of baled hay. If she does not eat any hay, her ration will consist entirely of the TMR. This TMR probably contains 16 to 17% ADF, placing her in an acidosis-prone situation.
If a cow over consumes hay and does not eat her TMR, her by-pass proteins and dense energy feeds are compromised.
New TMR users are reluctant to believe the cow can get all the corn or protein she needs out of the TMR. Therefore, they have a tendency to over top-dress.
Once again, the TMR becomes unbalanced and the forage-to-concentrate ratio actually consumed is not what is listed on the ration report.
To avoid these problems, top-dress only the amount called for on the ration report. Anything else can cause acidosis in the cow.
The greatest advantage of a balanced TMR is that every bite contains the correct amounts of forage and concentrates. If cows aren't eating the projected amount, never cut back on one ingredient.
Keep everything in the same ratio and cut back on the total pounds of TMR feed. Then have your nutritionist reformulate your ration so it is closer to actual consumption.
Errors in mixing cause the bunk ration to be different from the formulated ration. A good way to stay on top of the mixing errors is to take samples of the TMR routinely as it leaves the mixer.
The analysis of these samples should be close to what is listed on the ration report. Taking samples toward the beginning, middle and end of the TMR load-out helps you check on separation during mixing and unloading.
Avoid mixing errors by occasionally verifying the accuracy of your scale by weighing an object of known weight such as a feedbag. Also, resist the temptation to take a shortcut and not use the scale on some ingredients.
The decision to take out knives from your TMR mixer will be determined by the type of feeds you are using.
Hay, straw and baleage all require the knives in the mixer for cutting. If you are feeding haylage, corn silage or barlage with no dry forage products it may be advisable to remove some of the knives to avoid low eNDF in your TMR mix.
Most mixers are not very effective at blending a ration when they are over filled; most are not very effective when they are used to prepare a small batch.
For milking animals the following intake estimate equation is accurate enough to size a mixer (NRC 2001 without week of lactation adjustment):
DMI (Dry matter intake) = 0.372 (fat corrected milk) + 0.118 (body weight).75
For determining the size of a TMR mixer, you should assume a ration dry matter of 60%.
For non-milking rations (dairy or beef), mixer capacity should be based on assumed intake of 2.5% of body weight.