Exploring the potential of Total Mixed Ration (TMR) to address Feed and Fodder shortage in winter for Yaks and Dairy cattle in Haa

Funded by Kanchenjanga Landscape Development Initiatives (KLCDI), ICIMOD

25th Nov, 2020: winter feed and fodder shortage has been a challenge for the dairy farmers and herders over many years in Bhutan. The yak herders migrate from mountain to mountains for yak grazing in summer and only little forage was preserved for winter when they migrate down the winter camp. In lean season, the body condition score of all the yaks and dairy cattle decreases due to inadequate feed and fodder. However, unlike yaks, dairy cows were given preferences by the owners as they feel that yaks have stored energy that can be used in lean seasons especially during snow fall. However, in reality, we can feel and see that many young calves and weak yaks were dying due to starvation in lean season especially in bad weathers (Snow fall). The only solution to this will be the preservation of forage during flush season and supplement with mineral mixtures and exploring TMR feeding during lean season which is cheaper than karma feed and other feed concentrates.

In-order to explore the opportunities for animal’s proper body maintenance and increase production in lean season, TMR technology was introduced for the youths, dairy farmers and herders in Haa through KLCDI, ICIMOD funding. The prepared TMR will be fed to the dairy cows and yaks from this winter and it will be continued and data recording will be carried out in the field. For this reason, all the extension officials were sensitized and created awareness.


TMR is a total mixed ration formulated with required proportions of feed additivities to their nutritive values for feeding. The ingredient includes maize crushed, mustard oil cake, molasses, straw, salt and mineral mixtures. It is a researched technology that has recommended by the RLDC Tshimasham in the western region to implement in the field especially in winter for many economic reasons. It is also a simple technology that can be implemented at individual level and it is easier and cheaper than any other technologies released in the field. We can prepare TMR focusing for animals’ production, pregnancy, maintenance and also for general feeding. TMR will be a solution to reduce the cost of the feed and it is also a strategy to overcome the feed challenges during this pandemic situation. TMR can be stored for longer time and can be fed to the weak calves by the herders.


The Livestock Research & Extension Division in close collaboration with RLDC Tshimasham and Dzongkhag Administration has trained all the Extension Officers, Haa Valley Youth Cooperative members and herders on TMR preparation and benefits of feeding.   



Reported by:

Kinley Rinchen


Reporting from Haa