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Compact feeding prevents selection behaviour by cows

Compact feeding seems to offer a solution in efforts to prevent selection. But what exactly is compact feeding, and how does it work in practice?


It's much more than just adding water. It is a form of TMR feeding (Total Mixed Ration) in which all cows in a production group have unlimited access, 24/7, to a ration that has been mixed so well that the cows cannot select (not even when the feed dries during the course of the day) and every bite therefore has the same composition. This is the definition according to Danish research agency SEGES, which introduced the term 'Compact TMR'. According to researcher Niels Bastiaan Kristensen, it is important to take a number of aspects into account for compact TMR feeding. When mixing, particular attention must be paid to soaking the concentrate feed and to intensive mixing and cutting through longer mixing.

  • Mixing according to the 'compact feeding principle' takes place in three steps:

  • First mix: soaking dry concentrate components in water

  • Middle mix: addition of structure

  • Final mix: addition of maize

Compact TMR feeding has been in use for about five years in Denmark, where there are proponents and opponents of this principle. The proponents are convinced of the advantages and use the Compact TMR protocol for all feeding. They see an increase in production and an improvement in the health of their livestock. Opponents claim that compact TMR feeding is too labour-intensive and uses too much fuel – to the extent that the costs outweigh the benefits. Some do adopt certain elements from the concept, such as making a pre-mix, using the right loading order, the right number of auger revolutions and adding water.

You can apply the compact feeding principle in different ways. Do you want to know how this dairy farmer is benefiting from his own method of compact TMR feeding?

Source: Trioliet B.V.