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There are so many vertical TMR mixers on the market today, how do you know which to choose? A lot of vertical mixers look similar, and even have the same suppliers for some components. So, what is the big difference between them? The inside design of the machine controls how well it mixes.
When buying a vertical feed mixer, you are buying a complete system. The difference between each mixer brand is the design of the tub and the vertical screw (auger). For example, the Patz vertical mixer has a precision fitted screw (Vortex® or Tru Taper™) inside of a proportional tub. The feed gets lifted onto the screw deck and travels up the auger to be mixed together. The vertical relief design helps with the mixing process. The tapered sidewall works in conjunction with the patented contoured baffles to help feed mix together by lifting and falling.
In non-performing mixers, feed movement slows and then stops first at the cyclical transition from the tub end to the sidewall, visible as “dead spots”. As the mixer fills, dead spots expand into the mixing tub ends to restrictors. This stagnant area stops feed from being processed and mixing together. While mixing, your feed should move like a “rolling boil” – a Patz signature effect.
Patz Balanced Flow™ Technology is engineered to blend a consistent TMR by emphasizing:
• RUMEN HEALTH: Thorough mix
• BALANCED NUTRITION: Minimize sorting
• PHYSICALLY EFFECTIVE FIBER: Uniform processing/ particle size
• TRUE TUB SIZE: Batch/Volume Versatility (33%-99%) Struck Volume
• PROCESS BALES: Round/Square, Wet or Dry
• FAST MIXING: Payloader-Pace; 3-5 minute per ingredient
• ACCURACY: Pen/lot nutrition delivery
• RATION INTEGRITY: Minimize mix carry over
• INGREDIENT CONTROL: Put nutrients where needed
Check out this time-lapse video that shows the Patz “rolling boil” effect.
The importance of hygiene with your herd reflects in your milk check. Having strict practices in place for cleaning and herd hygiene means lower SCC (somatic cell count). Bulk milk with lower SCC is rewarded financially from the companies doing the purchasing.
The card below is meant to be a troubleshooting tool that can help identify your herd’s cleanliness. The scoring guide is used to put a numerical value to your operation which can help determine if you fall within the recommended guidelines.
In small herds (<100), all cows must be observed and scored. In bigger herds, it is recommended at least 25% of cows in each pen are scored. Each zone should be scored separately.
In addition to periodically scoring your cows’ hygiene, ensure you are following best practices for keeping SCC low.
- Frequently cleaning manure from alleys.
- Clean stalls often to remove manure and apply fresh bedding to ensure udders have a clean, dry resting place.
- Maintaining a good airflow in the barn helps to keep bedding and alleys dry.
- Practice good hygiene in the milking parlor. Ensure cows’ udders are clean and dry prior to milking. Prevent mastitis with appropriate pre- and post-dips. To prevent the spread of bacteria, wear gloves while milking and do not reuse towels for multiple cows.
- Do not over milk – it can lead to damaged teat ends, increasing the chance of infection.
“Hygiene Scoring Card.” University of Wisconsin
African Swine Flu. Avian Influenza. These outbreaks have occurred in the past couple of years. Trade shows have even been canceled to prevent the spread of these diseases. Farm biosecurity is becoming more of an issue with the worldwide market of agricultural products. If you do not have an idea or plan in place for your operation, it may be time to start considering one.
Biosecurity procedures are meant to protect humans and animals against disease or harmful biological agents. The best method of stopping the introduction of diseases is prevention. The three main things to start with are cleanliness, contamination control, and education.
Cleanliness – Clean and disinfect all equipment used on animals frequently. Wear gloves and wash hands frequently when handling animals. Bedding and barn alleys need to be cleared frequently of manure. Vehicles coming onto the farm may need to be sprayed down with disinfectant if they are going near an area with animals. Make sure food sources are free from mold and not spoiled. If an animal appears sick, immediately remove them from the herd and isolate.
Contamination Control – Anything coming from the “outside world” onto your operation has the potential to carry pathogens. Keep transport vehicles away from feed and manure handling routes. Make guests wear shoe covers when entering the barn. Pest-proof your feed storage as best you can. Animals that are new to your operation should be kept in quarantine for a couple of weeks before joining the herd.
Education – The most powerful tool in your arsenal is education. Have training and meetings with employees often to keep procedures fresh in their mind. Review behavioral signs of a sick animal and what steps should be taken if an animal is ill. Give any guests visiting a brief overview of where they are allowed, and how they can or cannot interact with the animals. Keep records of visitors to your operation, and health records current for animals.
Start the conversation with your vet to see what measures can be adapted to your operation.
“Biosecurity Guidelines for Animal Industries.” University of Massachusetts Amherst
“Livestock Biosecurity” Extension.org