Chelsea Gordon, Ruminant Technical Services Manager, Trouw Nutrition Canada
We frequently find the cow’s satiety from the PMR impacts her desire to visit the robot, and therefore her ability to consume pellets (Figure 2).
Palatability of the pellet is influenced by the ingredients and texture of the feed. Herds that have tried mash feeds at the robot tend to return to a commercial pellet (Salfer and Endres, 2016). Rodenburg and Wheeler (2002) identified that a high durability pellet resulted in more voluntary visits and higher milk production. When there are too many fines, or inconsistent grind size found in a mash/textured product, calibration of the robot concentrate is challenging.
Pellet quality is not just about durability. High producing cows are usually fed more concentrate than lower producers. Meeting the nutritional needs of these top producers requires a pellet which is of higher nutritional density than the PMR. This not only supports the performance and health of these cows but also the producer’s financial performance.
Small amounts of quality robot concentrates can effectively be used to motivate cows into the robot. This allows the nutritionist to provide more nutrients at the bunk where it is most cost-effective in the total feed program.
The Shur-Gain 19% pROBOTic pellet is a great tool to support this approach.