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Every day, a cow eats forages, grains, protein supplements, byproducts, vitamins, and minerals. Some farms mix all these ingredients together into a Total Mixed Ration (or TMR). The TMR is fed to the cows every day and is usually their sole source of feed. When all the ingredients are mixed together, a cow is less able to select individual ingredients to eat and more likely to get a well balanced, well rounded ration in every bite.
Other advantages include:
- Less labor costs because everything is fed at one time.
- The ability to feed a variety of different feedstuffs that cows might not eat if fed individually.
- Possible increases in milk production and reproductive efficiency, because cows are consuming a well balanced ration (and not sorting through and only eating ingredients they like).
Not every farm has the equipment and facilities to feed a TMR, but it is a popular option on many dairy farms.
Source: El Companero