Treating TMR Diets can Prevent Heating Losses

19 May 2015

Selko-TMRApplying Selko-TMR to mixed rations this summer will help reduce spoilage due to heating, helping increase dry matter intakes and maintain the feed value of the diet which can be worth the equivalent of 1.5 litres per cow per day.

"Heating of TMR rations can be a big problem in warm weather," explains Alice Hibbert, Technical Manager for Selko and other Feed Additive products at Trouw Nutrition GB. "Summer heating of diets is the same process as causes spoilage and secondary fermentation in silage clamps during the winter, leading to losses in dry matter and a decline in feed value as energy is used up."

Miss Hibbert says that as soon as silage is exposed to air and combined with other ingredients it begins to ferment because oxygen, excluded in the clamp, is reintroduced allowing moulds and yeasts that are present on the silage to become active. The micro-organisms ferment energy in the diet, reducing the feed value of the entire TMR, specifically sugar content and total dry matter.

"If TMR diets are allowed to heat up you end up feeding less of a lower quality feed, both of which will affect performance. Dry matter losses in excess of 5% on a single hot summer day are not uncommon. In addition, feeds that have been subject to proliferation of yeasts develop an odour which reduces palatability and depresses intakes. To this can be added greater levels of feed refusals so it will pay to take steps to reduce heating."

Cows Feeding

In the clamp, in addition to the absence of oxygen it is the low pH that helps suppress the activity of yeasts. Selko-TMR is a blend of buffered organic acids which when mixed with a TMR lowers the pH and reduces the activity of yeasts, so limiting the aerobic fermentation and the extent of heating.

In trials, adding Selko-TMR reduced the yeast population on the TMR by 40% leading to a significant reduction in the temperature of the mixed diet. Intakes of treated TMR were 6.5% higher that untreated diets.

Typical application rates are 1-2kg/tonne of TMR although this will depend on factors including ambient temperature, moisture levels in the diet and overall raw material quality. It will be thoroughly incorporated after 5-7 minutes on mixing, meaning it is quickly incorporated with minimal impact on routines.

Selko-TMR can also be sprayed onto the clamp face using a knapsack sprayer to help prevent heating of the face itself, but appropriate personal protective equipment should be worn when doing this.

"Combined with other best management practices such as mixing diets just before feeding, keeping feed troughs clean and maintaining a tight clamp face, Selko-TMR can help reduce the effects of heating, increase production from forage and reduce purchased feed costs," Miss Hibbert concludes.

For further information Trouw Nutrition GB Feed Additives Team

Issued by Phil Eades, Mardle Consulting (01332-541610 / 0739-597981)