Optimize your TMR

horizontal ruleWe spend a lot of time researching new feeding strategies and forages.  Studying the latest research and you can have the best ingredients, but fall short on your total mixed ration (TMR).  Sometimes, it comes back to the basic in order to optimize your TMR and particle size is a key component in feeding a successful TMR and achieving optimal rumination.

We feel using the Penn State Particle Separator is an excellent tool to evalute TMR’s particle size.  This tool not only allows us to evalute your current diet, it can also evalute your equipment’s performance and your harvesting practices.

Common items we watch for include:

  • Is your TMR consistent from the beginning to end of feed delivery?
  • How do your refusals compare to fresh feed?  Higher variability increases likelyhood of sorting and subacute rumen acidosis (SARA).
  • Is the TMR consistency changing as we incorporate new feeds?
  • Is there variability between operators mixing the TMR?
  • Can harvesting practices be improved to optimize rumination?
  • We often see all haylages chopped at the same length while forage dry matter varies.  This is especially true between  forage cuts.  For more information on forage harvesting, please refer to our Forage Harvesting Guide.
ScreenLactating Cow TMRDry Cow or heifer TMRCorn SilageHay crop silageStraw/dry hay for TMR
Top

(> 0.75" sieve)
5 to 8%10 to 20%5 to 10%10 to 20%33%
Middle

(0.31 to 0.75 in sieve)
45 to 55%50 to 60%45 to 65%45 to 75%33%
Bottom

(< 0.31 in sieve)
<50%<40%30 to 40%20 to 30%33%

(Adapted from Penn State guidelines by Dr. T. Overton 9/2013)

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