Feed is the biggest cost in a dairy farm and it is linked to many different issues, which makes it important to troubleshoot regularly. Mixer wagons are the heart of any total mixed ration (TMR). It is critical to the success of any dairy farm. Many farms tend to neglect analysing and troubleshooting the mixer wagon.
Things to pay attention:
1) Looking inside
It is crucial to look inside the mixer wagon before the first load of the day.
It is important to be aware how many knives should be on each auger and what they look like when they need to be replaced.
By checking regularly, the feeder can establish maintenance guidelines on the equipment.
When mixing TMR, observe if there are any "dead spots" - feed that is not moving.
"Dead spots" usually happen around the discharge doors.
Common cause of "dead spots" is due to tractor running at low RPMs. Increase the RPMs to solve this problem.
2) Pay attention to loading technique
It is encouraged to observe the, loading from start to finish.
When loading wet ingredients, it is advised to load down the sidewall of the wagon instead of dumping the ingredient directly over the augers.
Wet feed will tend to stick to the augers and if you follow a wet ingredient with a fine-meal feed, it will stick to that wet auger.
3) Observe unloading technique
It is crucial to find the most efficient method of unloading.
Ensure proper tractor RPM so that the feed is moving continuously.
Proper tractor RPM is important for proper cleanout at the end of load.
It is also equally important to monitor speed and proper discharge door control to provide a consistent flow of feed to the feedbunk.
The other most common question seems to be "what is the best mixer wagon"? Here are a simple chest list:
1) Where is the closest dealer?
It is important to buy it from a nearby dealer as you are able to buy parts and repair the mixer if it breaks down.
A dealership may also have a replacement mixer in case of a major breakdown.
2) Amount of dry hay in your ration
This will help determine if you require a vertical or horizontal mixer.
Horizontal wagons are suitable for mixing feed when low inclusion rates of dry hay are used.
3) How often do you service your mixer?
All mixer tend to wear out eventually and require periodic servicing or replacement.
Hence, it is important to train your feeder to understand the mixer wagon and how to recognize any potential problems before they happen
Having good feed management from mixer wagon to feedbunk will allow your nutritionist to troubleshoot more efficiently and efficiently.