Can you produce more milk solids through rumen conditioning?

Adding Acid Buf slow-release rumen conditioner can increase milk solids production by up to 7% and the energy-corrected milk (EMC) yield by as much as 1.74kg/cow per day – even without any specific acidosis threat.

New research results

The results come from recent independent research carried out at University College Dublin (UCD). The results of this study were presented at the American Dairy Science Association annual meeting in June of this year.

Including Acid Buf in the ration significantly improved fat concentration (3.87% vs 3.68%), maintained milk protein levels (3.26% vs 3.21%) and produced a numerical rise in energy-correct milk of 1.74L/day (35.42L vs 33.68L).

Graph: The net result was a 7% increase in total milk solids production (2.35kg/cow/day vs 2.19kg/cow/day)

The 12-week trial used 42 mid-lactation Holstein Friesian cows fed a typical total mixed ration (TMR) – either with or without the addition of Acid Buf.

This ration had a 55:45 concentrate-to-forage ratio, with equal quantities of grass and maize silages. In addition, it included: cereals; soyabean meal; sugar beet pulp; soya hulls and molasses.

“These rations were typical of those fed throughout much of the UK and Ireland,” stated Dr. Derek McIlMoyle, AB Vista’s EMEA technical director.

And, the results highlight both the ongoing pressure faced by the rumen and the positive impact slow-release conditioners like Acid Buf can have.

Improving rumen conditions

A small-scale in-vivo trial run using a similar ration highlighted the significant improvement in rumen pH when the slow-release rumen conditioner was included.

Adding Acid Buf cut the amount of time the rumen spent each day below the point at which fibre digestion is compromised (pH of 5.8) by nearly eight hours (2.9 hours vs 10.7 hours).

Graph: Time below pH of 5.8 (fibre digestion compromised)

The total time spent below the threshold for acidosis (pH of 5.5) was cut from more than six hours to less than one hour (48 minutes vs 6.1 hours).

Graph: Time below pH of 5.5 (threshold for clinical acidosis)

McIlmoyle added: “The potential for modern, high-energy density early and mid-lactation rations to create overly-acidic conditions in the rumen is substantial.

“It means that fibre digestion can be negatively affected for large parts of the day; even if there are no obvious outward signs of acidosis.

“Increasing the time rumen content is within the optimum pH range (pH of 5.8-6.2) can substantially improve rumen function and energy release.

“This leads to subsequent benefits in milk output, milk solids production and feed efficiency; resulting in greater savings in the cost of production.”

Proven on-farm performance

For Acid Buf users Richard and James Pratt – who farm 200ac at Studdah Farm, Bellerby, North Yorkshire – maximising both milk quality and quantity is essential.

As well as producing milk for Wensleydale Creamery, a large percentage of the farm’s income comes from selling freshly-calved heifers.

As stock value relies heavily on the herd’s pedigree status and milk records, consistently achieving high levels of milk components is hugely important.

James Pratt said: “We introduced Acid Buf to create a more efficient rumen environment.

We wanted to improve our feed conversion efficiency so that the cows were both healthier and more profitable. At less than 3p/cow/day, Acid Buf is easy and cost-effective. The cows are also quieter and more content; both milk yield and constituent levels have improved.

Working in harmony

McIlmoyle continued: “Acid Buf works in harmony with the cow’s own systems to help buffer the rumen in a way that’s highly efficient.

“This not only prevents acidosis, but also improves fibre digestion and total yield of the volatile fatty acids needed to support milk output and milk fat production in particular.

“Acid Buf is also a valuable source of highly bio-available calcium and magnesium. This allows the amount of CalMag in the ration to be at least halved – saving valuable space in the diet.”

Benefits of Acid Buf rumen conditioner:
  • Helps optimise rumen pH and prevent acidosis;
  • Maximises the time the rumen spends between pH 5.8-6.2;
  • Increases fibre digestion, which raises butterfat and milk yields;
  • Better rumen function, greater feed efficiency and more performance.

More information

For more information contact the AB Vista Randalstown office at: 004428-94473478. Click for more information on Acid Buf