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Loose cow at grass are not inevitable!

Loose cow at grass are not inevitable!

We all know that when cows are grazing lush grass, they go ‘a bit loose,’ which is a real inconvenience at milking time. Loose manure can also indicate poor rumen digestion due to Sub Acute Ruminal Acidosis (SARA), particularly if gas bubbles and undigested fibres are visible. The financial implications of compromised rumen function are significant. Milk quality can be reduced, and cows will not milk to their potential.

One farming couple who knows all about the challenges of managing cows at grass are Kevin Gleeson and Anne Sugrue in Borrisoleigh, Ireland. They run 147 mainly spring-calving Holstein cows, averaging 7,500 L/year and 570 kg milk solids per year from 1300 kg of concentrate. For the 2019 grazing season, they took part in a live yeast supplementation trial.

Live yeast grazing trial

Of the 55 robot-milked cows, 27 were allocated to receive Saccharomyces cerevisiae CNCM I-1077 (LEVUCELL SC) at the standard dose (1X1010 CFU/h/d). The remaining 28 received no additional supplementation to their 5 kgs of 14% cereal-based dairy diet. In addition to the robot’s recorded performance data, key indicators of rumen efficiency were measured on three occasions during the fourmonth trial.

Visible indicators of rumen digestion

During the trial, the producers notice a difference in manure quality among the robot-milked cows. Cows not receiving the supplement had much looser manure. Conversely, the supplemented cows were considerably cleaner throughout the trial. This is confirmed by key indicators of rumen efficiency assessments (Figure 1).

Higher milk yield

The live yeast supplemented cows produced more milk with significantly higher fats and proteins than the non-supplemented cows (Figure 2). This led to an increase of +1.14 kg of fat- corrected milk.

A 6:1 return on investment

“Once we saw the difference, we made the decision to put our other herd on LEVUCELL SC,” says Kevin. “It didn’t take long for these cows to start presenting much cleaner in the parlour, confirming the results seen in the robot trial. Having completed the trial and run the figures, the additional milk solids versus the cost of the yeast gave an overall return on investment of about 6:1, and we’ve asked our feed supplier to include LEVUCELL SC TITAN in our dairy feed for this year.”

This field trial confirms, under grazing conditions, the effect of S. cerevisiae CNCM I-1077 on rumen function improvement (rumen pH and fiber digestibility) and milk performance enhancement.

Published Apr 27, 2020