Cows are like kids,” says Marty Philippi, international sales manager for JAY-LOR Fabricating, the Ontario, Canada manufacturer of bovine feed mixers. “You put dinner in front of them and they’ll sort through everything to get to the tasty stuff and leave aside what’s good for them.” At least with kids, you can threaten to take away television time if they don’t clean their plates. Unfortunately, cows don’t watch much TV.
This is a cause for concern because poor nutrition in cows not only means animals more likely to get sick and, consequently, decrease milk production, but, more importantly, a poor quality feed intake that directly results in a poor quality milk output. “Insufficient or imbalanced nutrition causes the PH level of the cow’s rumen to fluctuate significantly,” Philippi explains. “This results in acidosis, what in humans we would think of as an upset stomach. Cows with upset stomachs have fluctuations in the quantity and quality of their milk. The same condition can also cause laminitis, which is manifested at the barn level as sore feet. Cows with sore feet aren’t producing as much milk, so you’ve got a double whammy of decreased production and decreased quality.”
One of the most important factors in preventing these conditions is ensuring that the cow eats a properly balanced diet of the right nutrients. Traditionally, dairy farmers fed the herd separate courses of hay followed by wet silages, followed by grains, proteins, vitamins and minerals. This is, obviously, an extremely labor intensive way of feeding cows. And still no guarantee that the animals will completely eat the right quantities.
In contrast, JAY-LOR mixers ensure cows have healthy stomachs and equally healthy milk production by combining all these nutrients into a single highly palatable and properly nutritionally balanced single feed. The cows don’t pick through to the more tasty bits because everything is blended together for “one-stop, one-taste” dining. The concept is called a “Total Mix Ration (TMR),” which the industry regards as the most influential factor in increasing and improving milk production in the last 20 years. Balanced TMR feeding can increase daily milk production by two to three pounds.
JAY-LOR likes to say that it puts the “total” into TMR. “While TMR has been popular with most dairy farmers, particularly the larger ones (some of the small traditional farmers can be reluctant to give up the old ways, but even the die-hards need to face the realities of the economics of the business), it has always been limited to the amount of hay that can be incorporated into the ration,” Philippi notes. “Using today’s technologies, JAY-LOR mixers can harvest forages, large round bales and square bales and at the same time ensure the right blend of fiber and nutrients is incorporated into the feed. In fact, our machines can process as fast as the farmer can load it.”
Philippi notes that JAY-LOR provides the means to obtain the right mix, but makes no recommendations on what that mix should be. “Most large dairy farmers employ a nutritionist who sets the standards. Our machines have been university tested and proven under proper test conditions. We highly recommend consultation with a reputable feed nutritionist in combination with our machines TMR process for best results under local individual conditions.”
ACQUIRING A BALANCED TASTE
JAY-LOR was founded by Jake Tamminga, who remains active as the company president of the privately owned company headquartered in rural Orton, Ontario. Tamminga designed and built his first mixer in 1993; that mixer is still in service today. Today, JAY-LOR has 60 employees and distributes its products via about 70 dealers throughout North America, as well as in 28 countries; as you might expect, the Midwest is the heart of the dairy and, consequently, represents the largest segment of geographic sales.
JAY-LOR holds 13 patents on its uniquely engineered TMR mixers in a variety of configurations encompassing single and twin auger-driven equipment, as well as truck mounted and compost models. Philippi points out, “We spend about 10 percent of our budget on prototyping and have invested some $5 million in research and development. It’s paid in product innovation, which is one of our key competitive differentiators. In 2008, for example, we were a finalist for the Manning Awards Foundation for Innovation.” and winner of the Canadian Manufacturers Association ‘Innovator of the Year Award’.
Being ahead of the pack also mean making sure the pack isn’t following unfairly in your hoof steps. “We actually have a lot of competitors selling similar kinds of mixers, about 60 in Europe and about 50 here in North America. Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but we have defended our patents from infringement and will continue to do so, as these are what make our products unique in the marketplace,” Philippi says.
He adds, “Our mixers range in size anywhere from 300 cubic feet to 1250 cubic feet.
Some of our competitors offer machines with capacities in the 1700 to 1800 cubic feet range, but our focus is more on quality than just volume.”
This is why JAY-LOR is the market leader – what John Deere is to agricultural equipment, JAY-LOR is to bovine mixers – not only because of its patented technologies, but also its longstanding reputation for quality and service. For example, dealers are required to maintain stock inventories. “The reason for that is if a dairy farmer’s mixer goes down for an extended time, it directly affects production, which, bottom-line, affects profitability. So if someone has a problem, we want to be sure it isn’t going to be a problem for long,” Philippi says.
JAY-LOR also favors feeders with one or two vertical augurs as opposed to three or four horizontal augurs. According to the company, vertical mixers provide about a 10 percent increase in the maximum mixing capacity. They also allow for unlimited amounts of roughage, where horizontal mixers have trouble with bigger commodities such as large round bales. Vertical mixers also have a longer life expectancy and since they don’t have any huge sprockets and chains to replace, the maintenance is drastically less. Philippi adds that actual longevity depends on usage; “A machine that does only two mixes a day is going to last longer than one that does 22 mixes a day.”
JAY-LOR manufactures to order in a 35,000-square-feet facility. “We outsource certain parts, such as the gearbox, but the mixer is built in-house,” Philippi says. “Right now is an incredible time for farm equipment, in general. Our lead-time is currently running at about a couple of months from time-of-order to delivery. We’re definitely now in the midst of evaluating what our production needs might be to accommodate future demand, as well as looking to expand our dealer network.”
In other words, JAY-LOR is looking to milk the market for what appears to be a considerable worth and make it even more worthwhile for milk producers.