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As the UK weather warms up, dairy and beef farmers are being encouraged to protect the performance of total mixed rations (TMRs) with the use of an efficient preservative.

“With feed prices continuing to escalate, it is important to ensure cows gain full value from the feed put in front of them and this means maximising the dry matter intake of the TMR. Unfortunately, though, TMR spoilage can be a real risk in the spring and summer months due to the warmer temperatures,” warns Jacob Lakin from Azelis Animal Nutrition.

Mr Lakin explains that cattle are very sensitive to TMR spoilage. “The proliferation of damaging micro-organisms can significantly reduce the palatability of the TMR and, if this happens, intakes can quickly drop. Using an effective TMR preservative will help keep the ration fresh and prevent the feed becoming unpalatable,” he says.

As the ambient temperature rises, yeasts and moulds in forages and other feed products within a TMR will grow more quickly when exposed to oxygen.

“This ration spoilage reduces the nutrient value and also adversely affects palatability, which in combination can lead to a significant depressive effect on performance, production and health. For example, in lactating cows, milk yield and solids may be negatively impacted at a time when butterfats tend to dip anyway, particularly if cows are turned out onto lush spring grass,” points out Mr Lakin.

However, he says that adding specific organic acid blends to the TMR can help to prevent TMR spoilage from yeasts and moulds.

“Use of the appropriate organic acids and their salts, such as those within ProMyr™ TMR from Azelis Animal Nutrition, are proven to be effective at inhibiting growth of moulds and yeasts. This will help to offset any potential unwanted drop in TMR intake and ensure cows extract full nutritional value and performance from the ration put in front of them this spring.”