17 April 2020

Every bite is the same

TMR feeding in practice. You can apply the compact feeding principle in different ways. Find out here how this dairy farmer is benefiting from his own method of compact TMR feeding.

Company: Amhedegård
Location: Egtved, Denmark
Number of cows: 150 milk cows (Holstein)
Production: 36 kg/39 kg ECM yield per cow per day
Hectares of land: 130 ha.
Mixer feeder: Solomix 2 2000 ZK with Shifttronic 2-speed (2019)
Ration: 12 kg concentrates, 5.3 kg water, 630 g minerals, 13 kg chopped grass and 32 kg maize
DM content: 37%
Number of feed turns per day: 1 in winter, 2 in summer

In 2019, Henrik Amhedegård switched from a stationary feed mixer system to a trailed mixer wagon. The conveyor belt feeding system could not reach all areas in the stable, so there were not enough feeding spots for all cows. This caused a lot of unrest among the animals. He now has a Solomix 2 ZK mixer wagon in combination with a Shifttronic 2-speed powershift and soaks the concentrate feed at night. There is now peace and serenity in the stable with 150 milk cows. 

Henrik prefers soaking concentrate feed because it prevents selection behaviour by cows and gives each cow the same intake. But when asked what he thinks of the compact TMR feeding principle, he answers resolutely. Henrik: "I'm sure it's correct in theory, but in practice I think it's too expensive. It takes too much effort, too much diesel and causes too much wear and tear." 

10% greater milk yield

Since Henrik started using the mixer feeder, he has been soaking the concentrate feed. He mixes the dry loose raw materials with water and lets it soak overnight so that he has a 'concentrate porridge' the next morning. In the morning he adds grass to the mixture and then mixes it again for about ten minutes. Then he adds the silage maize and mixes again for ten minutes until all the ingredients form one homogeneous mixture. Henrik likes this new way of feeding. Although he adds less water and mixes for less than the prescribed time, his milk yield has increased by no less than 10%. Production is over 36 kg per cow per day with a fat content of 4.45% and a protein content of 3.7%, and all this with GMO-free products. According to Henrik, these results can be explained by the fact that every cow is now receiving the same. This is because the stronger cows are no longer able to select the concentrate feed from the ration. Henrik: "The feed is so well mixed that the cows cannot select certain parts. Every bite is the same. Even the lower-ranking cows now get all the ingredients with their feed. There is less competition in the stable and at the feeding rack, and we notice that. The cows are much calmer, much more relaxed and take the time to lie down." According to Henrik, this is a direct consequence of his new feeding method. 

Although Henrik believes that TMR feeding is good and has mainly to do with moist, short feed components and good mixing, according to him, SEGES Research Agency's compact TMR feeding principle does not offer enough room for flexibility. Henrik: "According to the research, all conditions have to be perfect and you have to follow the protocol precisely to get the best results. But that's not always possible, as the circumstances are not the same all the time. In winter, for example, I let the concentrate feed soak all night so that it adheres well to the forage, but in summer I feed twice a day and there's no time to make a pre-mix twice. It's hard enough to keep the wet ration in good condition in the summer. If you start soaking it, not only does it take time but you also have to add a lot of acids to maintain the nutritional value. I've developed my own way of TMR feeding and I'm very satisfied with the results. I think the cows are very satisfied too."

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