Adding long-stemmed hay to a total-mixed ration (TMR) increases physically-effective fiber levels in the diet. However, adding hay can present a challenge. David Kammel, extension agricultural engineer at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, suggests these tips for incorporating hay into a TMR:

Determine the amount of hay your mixer can handle.

Process the hay-reduce the particle size by grinding it into 3-inch pieces-by using the mixer if it is designed to do so. Or, process the hay with a hay processor, such as a bedding chopper for small quantities or a large bale grinder for large round bales, prior to adding it to the mixer.

Place the hay in the mixer and process it for a length of time recommended by the manufacturer.