I promised I would share about what a Koster Tester is and how we use it. It’s been a while since I have talked about the farm so I thought it was the perfect time to write this. I mentioned a Koster Tester in my post about how life on a dairy farm could make a great reality television show. To learn more about feeding cows check out this post or this post I wrote a few years ago.
When it comes to our animals, feeding them is one of the most important things we do. We work with a team of people to make sure our cows are being fed to their exact needs. Our team consists of our veterinarian Dr. Chad, Tyler who feeds the cows and of course our nutritionist Steve who makes the recipe we use.
Everyone knows there is water in our food, right? In almost everything we eat there is some amount of water in it, even if it’s such a small amount we cannot tell. In order to know exactly what nutrients are in the food we first need to figure out how much water is in the cow’s feed. The amount of water changes the concentration of the nutrients in each ingredient we use. The amount of water can also change daily depending on what the environment is like. For example, if it has been raining there will be more water in the feed.
This is where the Koster Tester comes in. You take a sample of whichever feed type you are looking at; for example, corn silage. Before you start you have to weigh it with a scale, like the one on the right side of the picture. Then you put the feed into the top and turn on the Koster Tester. The tester will heat up and dry the feed out completely.
When the feed is totally dried out you simply remove it and weigh it again. Then you know what percent of it is actually water. Now we can make sure the cows are getting exactly what they need each and everyday!