Q & A Resource
Q: How does your TMR mixer performance directly affect milk fat content?
A: Jaylor has always believed strongly that the proof of the value of a TMR mixer has been in the “Quality of the Mix,” and thus in the value of monitoring the mix as it is created.
The patented Jaylor observation window, at the bottom left corner of the mixer, enables you to monitor the progression and efficiency of the mixing action where it is most important.
An optional ladder can be added to observe the processing of bales and the incorporation of long forage and/or mixing action from above. And finally, each mixer comes with the Jaylor Shaker Box so that the uniformity and quality of the mix can be evaluated objectively in the feedbunk, where it matters most.
These Jaylor features help to deliver optimum nutritional potential in the mix.
Q: How does your TMR mixer performance affect heat stress?
A: Jaylor employs the services of two professional Ruminant Nutritionists (Dr. Alan S. Vaage, Ph.D., and Janet Kleinschmidt, M.Sc.). Jaylor employs the services of two professional Ruminant Nutritionists (Dr. Alan S. Vaage, Ph.D., and Janet Kleinschmidt, M.Sc.).
With decades of experience between them, they provide internal nutritional and technical support for research and development, product evaluation, and to our sales and dealer network.
Most importantly, they provide support to you, our customers and users of our products, to help you achieve the greatest nutrition potential from your Jaylor TMR mixer.
Q: When can adding long forage to a TMR be worse than not adding it?
A: Through industry leading processing of longer TMR particles into a uniform distribution of particles that resists sorting during eating, to achieve uniform nutrient intake and minimize the potential for digestive upset.
Jaylor TMR mixers have been specifically designed to be the industry leader in processing long forages into uniform mixes that resist separation during eating, while applying a minimum amount of force (i.e. horsepower) on the particles, in a minimum amount of time.
The primary difference is the patented Jaylor “square-cut” auger. First, the square sides of the auger, along with the type, number and placement of its blades, optimize the efficiency with which Jaylor mixers reduce long particles into a size distribution that resists sorting during eating in the feedbunk.
Secondly, the design of the auger flighting, along with its patented slide plate, minimizes the frictional force between the feed and steel surfaces of the mixer, which can further degrade or “bruise” more fragile medium sized particles that otherwise contribute to effective fiber and resistance to sorting.
Both these characteristics of Jaylor TMR mixers enhance the uniformity of nutrient intake among animals and minimize the potential for digestive upset.
Q: How long should TMR mixer knives (blades) last?
A: On average, about one year for a mixer batching 2 to 3 loads per day using carbide coated knives.
How long a set of knives last in a TMR mixer is a function of the material they are made from (e.g. steel vs. carbide-tipped vs. carbide-coated), the number of loads mixed per day, the types and amounts of ingredients processed (e.g. chopped silage vs. round bales) and degree of ingredient contamination with soil, sand and especially small stones and rocks.
Feedstuffs, and forages in particular, are very abrasive and wear normal steel at an amazing rate.
Yet, the greatest cause of wear will be from stones and other hard material that cause chipping and premature dulling of the knives.
Thus steel blades generally last the least amount of time and require regular sharpening, while carbide blades last much longer and are well worth the higher price, especially when processing forage.
Carbide-tipped blades are very resistant to abrasion and can stay sharp for a long time, however they are very susceptible to chipping and cannot be sharpened.
Carbide-coated knives are self-sharpening and generally less susceptible to chipping than carbide-tipped knives, and overall seem to be the best choice, though there can still be a wide range in quality and resistance to wear.
With vertical auger mixers, the effectiveness of processing and quality of cut can be improved by replacing a portion of the blades every 6 months or so.
Since the majority of the actual cutting takes place towards the bottom third of the mixer where the auger diameter and edge speed is greatest, this is where the knives wear the fastest.
Consequently, the bottom blades can be replaced with new ones, and then the replaced bladed moved upwards, to keep the lower blades as sharp as possible, while still maintaining effectiveness in breaking up whole bales with the upper blades.
Q: How does our “square-cut” auger improve the nutrition in TMR mixes?
A: Two ways: When it leads to increased sorting or to a decrease in forage quality and/or forage-to-concentrate ratio, especially when using poor quality forage or straw.
Ensuring a TMR contains adequate effective fiber to maintain normal chewing behavior, especially rumination, is important for ensuring optimal rumen function, dry matter intake, and milk fat production.
However, if long forage is added to the TMR, but not adequately processed and incorporated into a size distribution that will resist sorting during eating, it can actually have the opposite effect by enabling ingredient sorting.
When this occurs, a proportion of the herd will experience sub-acute acidosis and depressed milk fat due to excessive grain consumption.
Ultimately, milk fat production depends on adequate fiber digestion, predominantly from forages. In some cases, low milk fat can result from feeding poor quality forages, which necessitates feeding a low forage-to-concentrate ratio to meet energy requirements.
This predisposes the herd to both low milk fat production and reduced chewing activity. In these cases, if straw or other poor quality forage is added to the ration in an attempt to stimulate chewing, the situation can actually get worse as overall forage quality and digestibility will be further reduced.
Research has shown that increasing forage quality and quantity is up to ten times more effective than length for maintaining milk fat production.
Q: How do our staff contribute to the nutrition in the mix from our TMR mixers?
A: TMR mixer performance does not affect heat stress per se, but poor TMR mixer performance can amplify the effects of heat stress, such as: ruminal acidosis, decreased dry matter intake, depressed milk and milk fat production, and lameness, through inadequate mix uniformity and resistance to sorting.
Heat stress occurs when heat produced in the body from feed intake and milk production exceeds the ability of the cow to get rid of it when environmental temperature and humidity increase, and core body temperature starts to rise.
When this occurs, the body responds with increased respiration (active cooling) and reduced feed intake and milk production (decreased heat production). Research clearly shows that the only thing that will reduce heat stress and its associated effects is intensive cooling to remove the excess body heat.
However, poor TMR mixer performance can make the effects of heat stress worse. Heat stress tends to cause ruminal acidosis through its effect on eating behavior, chewing, saliva loss from drooling, and reduced ruminal motility.
During these times, non-uniform TMR mixing, as well as inadequate processing and incorporation of long forage particles that leads to sorting, will cause excessive grain consumption in a proportion of the herd.
Thus poor TMR performance will increase the incidence of acidosis and subsequent lameness, and thereby further depress intake and milk and milk fat production during heat stress.
For additional information on heat stress, its effects, and tips for TMR formulation and management during heat stress, see the article Heat stress? Sharpen Focus on Summer Feeding in the Jaylor Nutrition Library.
Q: How do you evaluate the mix in your TMR Mixer?
A: Two ways:
- Non-uniform mixing and
- Inability to process longer particles into a size distribution that resists ingredient separation and sorting during eating.
The most common cause of milk fat depression in TMR fed herds is over-consumption of concentrates relative to forages.
In relation to TMR performance, this occurs firstly through non-uniform mixing, which causes feed in some parts of the bunk to have higher concentrations of grain than in others.
This allows a proportion of the animals to consume excessive amounts of grain, and thus inadequate forage fiber, which causes sub-acute ruminal acidosis and low milk fat. A similar effect happens when a TMR mixer fails to reduce long forage particles (e.g. from hay, straw or even silage) into a size distribution that will resist ingredient separation and sorting.
If there is not a continuous distribution of particle sizes, and especially a large number of medium-sized particles (0.5 to 1.0 inches), cattle can sort out the longer forage particles and consume a diet that is higher in concentrates than intended, with expected consequences.
Interestingly, it is the later lactation cows that seem to spend the most time sorting and contribute most to this type of milk fat depression, which can be identified using DHI production records.
American Feed Industry Association
Animal Nutrition Association of Canada
Dairy Herd Management
Institute for Agriculture & Trade Policy
Manufactures Health & Safety
Ohio Farm Science Review
Ontario Cattle Feeders Association
Penn State University
The North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge
University of Guelph
University of Idaho, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
University of Kentucky, College of Agriculture