Once upon a time, we used bale feeders, or a combination of bale feeders and tub grinding. Basically everything for the calves in the backgrounding lot now have hay and greenfeed that has been ground into shorter pieces. Tub grinding consists of putting round bales into a grinder that cuts them up into shorter pieces and puts them into a stack.
Reducing Feed Waste
In a bale feeder, a calf can pull out a mouthful and a portion may fall to the ground. Resulting in feed being wasted. When ground into shorter pieces, each mouthful is contained, reducing feed waste.
For many years we made long stacks, combining hay and barley greenfeed. These stacks were forked up morning and night giving the calves free choice access. It was a good way to keep fit and avoided the frustration of dealing with frozen twine on bales. But this year we have made separate stacks. This has allowed us greater control as we make a total mixed ration for the calves. (The photos are from grinding in October before we had snow)
In addition to reducing feed waste, in order to create a total mixed ration (TMR) all of the ingredients must go into a mix wagon that combines the silage, hay, greenfeed, pellets or barley and supplement (i.e. mineral, vitamin, rumensin, protein mix). Hence, the hay and greenfeed must be ground in order for this to work. Long stemmed forages do not mix well.
Total Mixed Ration (TMR)
The idea behind a TMR is that every mouthful is the same, providing a balanced ration in every bite. Selective consumption of individual ingredients is minimized. This reduces the risk of digestive upset and stabilizes rumen pH. In addition, using a TMR has reduced the physical labour required for feeding as there is very little manual forking up of feed to do.