What is a Total Mixed Ration (TMR)?

This article is also available in Spanish.

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