Why I Don’t Mix My Own Feed and More Pages From the Past

Take a look at agriculture news stories from the September 1929 issue of Capper’s Farmer.

| Fall 2015

Feed farmer

Grow your dairy grains but buy the protein mixture, Mr. Adams suggests.

Photo from Capper’s Farmer archives

Why I Don’t Mix My Own Feed

By E.C. Adams
Jackson County, Missouri
as told to M.N. Beeler

Dairy cows need a mixed ration. There are two ways to provide what they require. You can buy it or you can mix it yourself. The grain ration can be supplied more cheaply from the home farm if you have the land to produce it. Also if you can grow a legume hay, preferably alfalfa, of uniformly good quality, you’ll save money by producing it.

But in my experience that is as far as you can go in producing your dairy feeds. Grain and hay are not enough for profitable milk production. Cows can’t produce their maximum on that ration. And a profitable maximum production is necessary for a profitable project. A protein supplement must be supplied. That supplement must be a combination of by-products.

Up to this point, all dairy authorities and most dairymen who are operating at a profit agree. But beyond this, my system is at variance with the recommendations of some authorities and with the practices of many dairymen. The ingredients of the protein supplement must be mixed. Home mixing is generally advised because it is considered to give the cow what she needs at the lowest cost. I have no quarrel with the fellow who wants to mix his own protein feed. I don’t attempt it.

In the first place, I don’t have time. In the second, I can buy a ready-mixed feed that is uniform in ingredients, in quality and in protein. I can’t mix that kind. Nor can I mix a protein feed as cheaply as I can buy it when everything is considered.

If I did not buy a ready-mixed protein feed, I would have to buy at least five ingredients. To get those ingredients at a low price I would have to buy them in carload lots. That would require storage space for the five loads, a place to store the mixed feed and a place to mix it. In a herd the size of mine, 72 cows, hand mixing would be out of the question so machinery would be necessary. Some dairymen have as much space for feed storage and mixing as they have of cow barn and milking space.

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