Mixing wagons are the heart of any total mixed ration (TMR). It is critical to the success of the farm. It is encouraged to have constant analysis of the mixer wagon. Here are some things to look for:
1) Looking inside.
It is highly recommended to look inside the mixer wagon prior to the first load of the day.
Feeder needs to have a basic understanding of what the components look like and how they function.
By checking often, the feeder can have a rough idea regarding the maintenance guidelines on the equipment.
2) Look inside again
Safely climb up the manufacturer's ladder to visually appraise the inside of the mixer box when mixing the TMR.
Look for any "dead spots" where feed is not moving. Specifically look for discharge doors.
If the door area is worn out, it will create a depression for feed to get caught and will stop feed from being picked up by the kicker plates and augers.
A common mistake is to run the tractor at low RPM as this will cause "dead spots". If you see dead spots, try increase RPM to see if it solves the issue.
3) Monitor loading technique
The best way to see how the load is mixing is to watch it from the start to finish.
When loading wet ingredients or ingredients with small inclusion rates, it is highly recommended to load down the sidewall of the wagon instead of directly dumping the ingredients over the augers.
Wet feed will stick to the augers. If it is a small load, it will be a problem since the wagon will never get full enough to work feed over the entire auger.
4) Monitor unloading technique
It is important to find the most efficient method for unloading.
Firstly, ensure the tractor RPM is ideal to keep the feed moving in the mixer.
Feeders will also need to monitor speed and proper discharge door control to ensure consistent flow of feed to the feedbunk.
The amount of feed, feed distribution as well as timing of feeding is crucial to managing feedbunk.
One of the most common question is "what is the best mixer wagon?" There is no 1 answer for this. Here is a simple checklist when deciding which mixer wagon is most suitable:
1) Where is the closest dealer?
Having a dealership close to you that has a replacement mixer in case of any major breakdown is a huge asset.
2) How much dry hay is in your ration?
This will determine if you require a vertical or horizontal mixer.
Horizontal wagons are more suitable for mixing feed when low inclusion rates of dry hay are used.
3) How often do you service your equipment?
The internal components of the mixer will wear out and require periodic servicing.
It is important to train your feeder to understand the mixer wagon and to recognise any potential issues before they happen.
Maintain a properly managed feed operation from the mixer wagon to the feedbunk will allow your nutritionist to troubleshoot more effectively and efficiently.