In a recent press article describing a successful finishing unit feeding a totally mixed ration (TMR) the article mentioned that at one point it was felt the TMR was too dry so 2 kg of water per head was added to the mix. Unfortunately the article did not give the composition of the TMR but did give an analysis for the silage which had a dry matter 32%. Assuming silage contributed 60% of the total DM in the mix, adding 2 kg of water per head would effectively reduce the silage dry matter to 29%! Another reason for not over wilting silage ie setting a target of around 25% DM rather than the current over 30% DM?
The article contained 2 benefits from adding the water –
- Improved palatability. Personally I find this difficult to believe as finishing performance is maximised on one of our driest rations – ad-lib concentrates plus straw! Similarly high quality hay is perhaps one of our most palatable forages at around 85% dry matter.
- It helped the TMR bind together, reducing the amount of sorting which occurred. To me this is a valid reason but again the animals were sorting the driest part of the TMR because they found it more palatable!
Basil Lowman, SAC Consulting Beef Specialist
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