How Weather Affects Total Mixed Rations and Why it is Significant to Dairy Cattle
Author: Juliana Baranowski
Major: Animal and Veterinary Sciences
Graduation Year: 2021
Thesis Advisor: David Marcinkowski
Description of Publication: The objective of this study was to determine how weather affects the dry matter percentage of a TMR fed to dairy cattle. Daily feed samples were collected from the University of Maine’s J.F. Witter Teaching and Research Center and stored in a freezer until dry matters could be determined. The feed samples were later thawed out, then placed in an oven at 60oC for a minimum of three days. This allowed all the moisture to be evaporated so the DM could be calculated. The maximum, minimum and average temperatures, as well as the precipitation and humidity were obtained daily from The National Weather Service website. The average DM of all the feed samples collected was 43.17% which is below the ideal range of 45-50%. When the ration DM is below this range, the cows are consuming too much water and not enough DM. Due to various problems which prevented consistent collections of data, this study was conducted during colder months of the year rather than warm summer months. Data was collected during February and March 2020, October and November 2020, December 2020, and during January 2021. Overall, the data collected shows that the DM of the total mixed ration was extremely variable, and weather had little effect on DM. The feed analysis, however, shows strong correlations amongst the dry matter. As a result, this study proves that the ratio of haylage to corn silage had an effect on the total mixed ration dry matter, rather than did the weather.
Location of Publication:
URL to Thesis: https://digitalcommons.library.umaine.edu/honors/723