Our milking herd is feed twice a day a casserole of sorts! Their feed is mixed together by a giant mixer and the feed is blended into a food that we call a Total Mixed Ration (TMR). The TMR is our way of giving the cows a complete balanced ration without the veggies or dairy products!
We even work with our nutritionist to formulate our ration which is unique for our own farm. Our TMR includes haylage, corn silage, high moisture corn, soybean, cottonseed and a protein mixture. Do you have a nutritionist who gives you a menu for each day of the week? I certainly don’t! But I sure wish I did!
We hope that on any given day our cows will each eat 82.25 pounds of feed! That’s a lot of feed! Times that by the 200 head of milking cows and that’s 16,450 pounds.
Here is a quick look at the feeds that we incorporate into our cows’ “casserole” or diet each day!
Haylage is chopped alfalfa that is chopped at a high moisture and packed tight in our bunk silo to ferment. We grow the alfalfa and have a custom harvester come in to chop the hay.
Corn silage is the entire corn plant (stalk, leaves, kernals and cob) that is chopped and packed tight in our bunk silo to ferment. We grow all of our own corn and have a custom harvester come in to chop the corn.
High moisture corn is when the kernals of the corn is fine ground via a roller mill at 28-30% and we store it in an upright silo. It ferments before being fed to our cows. We grow all of our own corn and have a combine come in to harvest the corn and then rent a grinder to process the corn.
Cottonseed is well exactly that! Yes, cottonseed! After the cotton fiber is processed the seeds are leftover and that provides fat to our cows diet. We purchase our cottonseed from our feed mill.
Soybean meal is ground soybean that adds protein to the cows diet. We also purchase soybean meal from our feed mill.
Protein mix is a blend of mineral, vitamins and proteins. Our girls don’t take a daily vitamin like you and I might so we add it to their feed! Our feed mill mixes this protein mix up special for our farm so that it fits our needs.
Mixing, mixing, mixing.
Eating, eating, eating! I think these girls all approve of their feed!