When it comes to mixing the feed for our Designer Beef cows, we have a top-of-the-line mixer to ensure our cows get all the necessary nutrients.
In a previous blog post, we talked about the advantages our cows at Designer Beef ranch get. One of those extraordinary advantages is the capacity to mix our own custom feed rations on-site, while most ranchers will mix feed at the feed store and have it delivered. Mixing our own feed is vital to ensure our cows get the right amount of nutrients, minerals, and Omega-3s in their diet.
Like a baker creating a recipe, we have an animal nutritionist who customizes what ingredients to use and how much. Once the ingredients are determined, our ranch manager mixes the ration on-site, using all fresh ingredients. Like a Kitchen Aid Mixer for cow feed, we use a big Mixer Box, also known as a Feed Wagon, to ensure proper mixing.
The Mixer Box is a critical part of the cows’ diets at Designer Beef. It makes sure that the ingredients are mixed evenly in our three different feed options: grain based, grass based, and mixed ration. Once mixed, it becomes a nutritious, delicious meal for your cows. On the ranch we call this a Total Mixed Ration or “TMR” for short.
Read on to learn more about the different parts of our mixer box.
Much like a paddle on your Kitchen Aid Mixer, the augers turn and combine the ingredients. It mixes all the ingredients together to make the recipe, in other words, build the ration. Augers are also made of Hay Knives.
To make hay easier to chew for the cows, the hay knives cut the bermuda and alfalfa hay. Doing this prevents the hay from being long and stringy. Cows prefer to have their food cut up, much like a toddler. The hay knives also help combine the hay with the other ingredients better, so cows can’t be picky about what they’re eating. This ensures that the cows are eating every part of their customized ration and not just parts of it.
Hay knives tend to wear down over time, so to keep them in good condition, we torch off the old hay knives and bolt in brand-new sharp hay knives.
As you would expect, it is used to measure the exact amount of each ingredient added to a specific Designer Beef Ration. Our nutritionist, Jay Branum, designs a Ration Analysis on each different ration. A Ration Analysis has detailed weights for each ingredient. So, when our Ranch Manager is building each ration, he has the precise amount of every ingredient that goes into it. The scale is located conveniently on the side of the Mixer Box, so when the Ranch Manager is filling the Mixer Box, he can easily read how much of each ingredient he is adding.
The feed chute is located on the side of the Mixer Box. Like the augers on the Mixer Box, the Feed Chute has augers that move the feed out of the Mixer Box. The Augers are also used to unload the feed from the Mixer Box once the ration is mixed.
There is a tractor on the farm that takes the ration from the feed chute once it’s ready. The Feed Chute uses hydraulics so that you can open and close it without getting out of the tractor. The tractor then will go down the feed lanes in our shaded stall barn and fill up the cows’ mangers. The cows get excited when they see the tractor coming into the barn because they know it means it’s feeding time! The cows know when to make their way to the mangers and fill up on their nutritious meal.
The Mixer Box is the heart of the ranch and is used to keep your cows the healthiest they can be at Designer Beef. Nutrition for cows is essential, and our Mixer Box plays a key role in that. Designer Beef is lucky to have top-of-the-line equipment for our cattle.