Producers are being urged to take the heat out of summer rations for housed cattle as the prolonged period of hot weather extends into July.
“Unwanted microbial activity causes TMRs to heat up to some extent during the day,” says Azelis Animal Nutrition’s Phil Vernon. “But during the summer this process can cause larger dietary impacts than is expected."
“The TMR mixing process also brings together all the key elements for nutrient loss. In warm weather, mould and yeast growth rates are dramatically accelerated. What might be fresh feed first thing in the morning, becomes a less palatable and nutrient-diminished feed some hours later,” he says.
“A lot of time is spent formulating rations to maximise performance, so it’s frustrating to see such a loss when the weather gets a little warm.”
Fall in pH
Moulds not only cause the TMR to heat up, and yeasts not only consume nutrients destined for the cow, but their by-products also contribute to a loss of performance. Mycotoxins and a fall in pH can severely affect herd health if left unchecked.
Mr Vernon says that including a buffered and non-corrosive organic acid blend within a TMR will definitely help the situation. “Including a mix of propionic, formic, acetic and elevated levels of benzoic acids will help to take the heat out of any ruminant summer ration."
“Its inclusion will keep feed cool and help maintain palatability and dry matter intakes for longer. And this mix is also useful for controlling aerobic spoilage on open silage faces or around the shoulder surfaces of clamps,” he says.