Feed Shelf Life
I am a veterinary consultant from India. We have developed a feed with concentrates and roughage portion quite similar to TMR, however in this case silage/hay is not added to increase the keeping quality. We advocate that greens have to be fed separately to the animals.
My question is how to increase the keeping quality of this feed further (now it is 2 months)? What are the different measures that could be effected to improve the shelf life.
Outside United States
It greatly depends on the feeds that are part of that “partial TMR”. As time goes by there is oxidation of fats and oils and later peroxidation. That’s not usually a health problem for dairy cows as the amounts in the diet are usually below 3-4% if there is no added fat. However, the oxidation leads to the occurrence of rancid odors that the cows will reject and thus feed intake will decrease. In addition there will be oxidation of vitamins, particularly E and A. If a vitamin nucleus is added it would be advisable to add once fresh forages are incorporated and not previous to the long-term storage. In addition you may want to include antioxidants such as BHT or BHA if available in the market. One other concern might be the development of molds and eventually mycotoxins. Adding an “anticaking” agent might be advisable at the rate recommended by the manufacturer. Keep the feed dry and in a dark place with no access to birds and rodents. Vermin will not only eat significant amounts of nutrients but are potentially responsible of contamination with Salmonella and E. coli among other microorganisms. In my opinion 2 or 3 months top is what you will be able to preserve this feed without excessive deterioration of its quality.