Paul Dyk, Regional and Technical Service Manager
The addition of liquids in TMRS has become commonplace on many dairies, unfortunately how they are added is not always ideal. There are important considerations specific to liquids that need to be considered.
- For large volume liquids like water, you need to have the right distribution system. In the before picture below, the distribution bar pointed directly down and only coated part of the TMR. In the after picture, we can see a distribution bar the spreads the liquid across the TMR for better distribution.
- For lower volume liquids like molasses-based products (ie QLF) that are included at 3-5% of the TMR, you should include these earlier in the mixing sequence. Using Zn and Mn as markers in a QLF supplement, a TMR was mixed in two different sequences. The first sequence included QLF near the beginning of the mixing procedure, the second sequence included QLF at the end of the mix. When QLF was added earlier in TMR sequence, the Zn and Mn in the QLF were extremely consistent across the mix.
- Location, Location, location. For low inclusion liquids, getting the liquid to drop on existing dry ingredients can help with mixing. In vertical mixers, esp on smaller loads, the liquid should not drop on the screws directly but next to them (on the feed). For horizontal mixers, drop the liquid where the dry feed is. In the pics below, you can see how a small adjustment in truck location can affect mixing. On the left the liquid is dropping where there is no feed and not being mixed effectively, on the right when the truck was moved slightly, the liquid is being incorporated directly and immediately into the mix.
- Molasses-based supplements can effectively be added to the supermix/premix. Our experience in the beef industry has shown that it may be the best practice to load the liquid supplement after corn. For example, in the supermix, a farm may load corn, liquid supplement, and then other protein/energy sources. The mixer should be mixing vigorously while adding the liquid supplement to eliminate any molasses “balls.” Depending on inclusion rates, the resulting supermix might have a cookie dough texture; when this supermix is added back to the TMR, shrink due to the wind should be reduced due to the fines being bound in the supermix.