To capture how much cows are actually eating, note the starting weight of the TMR and then stop between each string or barn to record how much feed was delivered for each feeding, recommends Andy Fielding, senior dairy technical consultant with Purina Animal Nutrition.

“Individual string weights are key because you find out what each pen is fed and, in turn, eating,” says Fielding.

Also, be sure to record weigh backs by string or barn prior to the next feeding so that the amount leftover can be coordinated with the original amount fed. Every feeding should be recorded and calculations done weekly.

“This is a really nice guide to examine how early-lactation cows and high cows are eating,” he says. “You can find out if the cows are eating what they should.”