One of the great things about utilizing a vertical mixer is the ability to have alternative feeds incorporated into your TMR. Using by-products from your farm, feed waste, or commodity, you can supplement a portion of your herd’s TMR with a much cheaper ingredient. These are often less expensive because they can be bought in bulk or directly purchased from the source.
Feeding these items in a TMR masks the flavor of less palatable feeds. A vertical mixer will process ingredients into smaller pieces and blend them together to create a consistent mix. With a properly mixed TMR, your cows will not be able to snoop around with their noses and sort out the “good stuff”.
Of course, you need to work with your nutritionist to ensure your herd won’t be missing any vital nutrients or energy that would lower milk production. Measure the overall nutritional composition of the feed and adjust as needed.
Alternative items to add to your TMR include wet brewers/distillers grain, bakery products (stale items), candy, pasta, and even pizza crusts.
“Total Mixed Rations for Dairy Cows” PennState Extension
“Use of Commodity Ingredients for Dairy Cattle” PennState Extension