TMR considerations and handling during warm months - Part 2

On part 1 of this interview, Jan-Hendrik Puckhaber discussed some of the main problems associated with TMR during times with higher temperatures. Now we dive into new technologies and solutions available to tackle this problem. Join us once more in this second part where Jan-Hendrick will share some insights and advice on what he has learned over the years for TMR handling.

Haven't read part 1 of this interview? Find it here>>

5. What about new technologies? Are there any tools that can be used to diagnose problems with the feed?

Thermometers help us, but sometimes you miss the hotspots, or you cannot check the surface of a bunker because it’s too high. Also, there is a big Risk of injuries because of avalanches from the Feed-Out Area. When a bunker is high, you should not go too close because without any warning the front can collapse. Because of this the technology of thermal cameras has shown to be a powerful tool to check the silage Areas and feed bunks. 

6. Are there any management techniques that can be implemented quickly to help prevent secondary heating of the TMR?

First: don’t provide feed and feedstuffs that is not 100% OK! If you add warm silage or other feeds to fresh material as a way of diluting it, this is bad practice as its works like a “negative Inoculant” and will infect the whole TMR. 
Feeding twice a day allows the TMR less time exposed to oxygen, so yeast don’t have that much Time for growth. Feed bunk hygiene is essential, old TMR will infect the new. But even with good silage we have to make sure we prevent the growth of unwanted microorganisms. We do this by including acids – Powder or liquid- into the TMR.

7. How else can heating be prevented? Are there any additives that can be used to delay the process?

Organic Acids like ProMyr™ TMR or Flexible are proven tools to inhibit yeast and molds. They prevent the fast and exponential growth of these microorganisms which delays the TMR heating up.  This gives the cows more time to consume their optimum DMI without fear of heating in the TMR and also can prevent performance and metabolic challenges later. 

8. What advice do you give to dairy farmers in the northern hemisphere as we approach the hottest months of the year?

Don’t wait until you see a hot TMR! The damage to your bottom line will be immense when you see and feel the heat. In fact, if you can feel the heat, the damage to the herd is already done. You must work proactively and prevent the heating from happening for as long as possible.  The loss of feed intake and the decline in milk production starts when the TMR starts heating! Start the TMR protection with the most vulnerable groups in the herd- cows in the transition phase. Second most important are your milking cows followed by the younger heifers group.
As a rule of thumb, as soon as you start to wear a T-Shirt, you should apply a TMR preservative to stop heating!