An award-winning pedigree Holstein herd that produces an exceptional milk yield is no longer experiencing energy deficits and metabolic issues since a feed additive was included in its ration to protect rumen health and prevent ruminal acidosis.

Westport-based company Mayo Healthcare has recently completed independent trials in Harper Adams University where its lead product, Panatec Rumen Proof, was evaluated for performance benefits in dairy cows,.

In particular, it examined milk yield, feed efficiency, and weight differences in early lactation.

The results from these independent trials and the testimonials of farmers who use Panatec Rumen Proof are both evidence of the many benefits of this Mayo Healthcare product.

Hugh Miles’ 140-cow Witham Hall Herd yields an annual average of 12,800L of milk in a robotic milking system at Witham Friary near Frome, Somerset in the UK.

This yield is a result of years of breeding with superior genetics, but diet plays its role too. High-quality grass silage with a metabolic energy (ME) ranging from 12.1-12.6% is fed in a total mixed ration (TMR) with ground maize and protected rapemeal.

However, this high level of cow performance risks causing a negative energy balance and associated metabolic issues, including acidosis.

In 2019 Hugh, who farms with his daughter, Clare, and wife, Hilary, noticed that some cows were losing body condition.

“One or two were losing a bit of weight, they weren’t where they should have been,” he said.

He was advised by Barkers Animal Health to include Panatec RumenProof in the ration. This fast-acting residue-free feed supplement has been developed by Mayo Healthcare to reduce the risk of acidosis in dairy cows.

Its ingredients are approved for use as a feed additive, acting as a rumen enhancer for greater performance and improved energy in the rumen.

“In just two weeks of using Panatec RumenProof we noticed a difference,’’ said Hugh. “Dung consistency was much better and we even saw milk quality improve slightly.

“The cows no longer go into negative energy balance; we don’t have any problems with acidosis. They look well, they have nice shiny coats.’’

There was a rapid uplift in milk yield; the herd was already averaging a very impressive 41L/cow/day and soon after introducing RumenProof it jumped to 45L/cow/day.

Cracked maize had been included in the herd’s TMR at that time and before using the additive, Hugh was finding evidence of undigested feed in the dung, a sign that the cows’ rumens weren’t functioning as well as they could be.

From the day he introduced RumenProof the cracked maize disappeared from the dung.

This would indicate that rumen function had improved significantly, hence the increase in milk yields.

Hugh includes 100g/cow of RumenProof in the daily TMR of:

  • 50kg freshweight silage;
  • 3kg ground maize;
  • 3kg of protected rapemeal;
  • This is topped up with an 18% protein concentrate fed to yield in the parlour, up to 12kg/cow

“The cows are aggressive eaters, they have always got good rumen fill,’’ added Hugh.


Together with the multiple benefits to cow health, Hugh also reported fertility improvements since incorporating it in the ration.

“Heats are stronger, we used to get the odd non-bulling cow but not any longer,” he said.

All sexed semen is used for breeding and a 68% conception rate is achieved from up to three services.

Milk yield

The herd’s rolling butterfat average is 4.25% and protein 3.48%.

Hugh believes Panatec RumenProof has had an influence on that too.

“Milk quality has improved slightly, especially butterfat,” he added.

Somatic cell counts average 117,000 cells/ml and there are very few cases of mastitis.

“Panatec RumenProof is part of our system now. I don’t foresee us stopping using it with the results we are getting from it,’’ Hugh said.

Hugh has been described as a leader not a follower, and that is evident across all areas of his business.

Results from Harper Adams trials

In Mayo Healthcare’s recently completed independent trials at Harper Adams University, Panatec Rumen Proof was evaluated for performance benefits in dairy cows.

Developed in co-operation with the National University of Ireland, Panatec is a novel and first-generation iodophor feed additive for dairy cows, finishing cattle and growing calves.

In the Harper Adams trials, the effect of feeding Panatec Rumen Proof to dairy cows was compared to feeding a control diet.

Performance, feed conversion, methane production and cow weight were measured during the 84-day study in early lactation.

Diets were based on maize and grass silage with straight feeds and were fed as a total mixed ration twice/day.

The cows were milked twice/day at approximately 6:00a.m and 5:00p.m and milk samples were taken during the collection week for compositional analysis. 

Cows were housed in the same portion of a cubicle building. All cows had continued access to water and individual feed intake was recorded daily by the feeders.

The results of the Harper Adams trial found:

  • Feeding Panatec Rumen Proof (80g/cow/day) increased liveweight gain. The control group averaged a gain of 0.06kg/day whereas the Rumen Proof group gained 0.62kg/day;
  • Feed conversion efficiency improved significantly compared to the control diet;
  • Milk yield (fat corrected) kg/day was 38.5L versus 37.1L/day in the control group;
  • Milk fat was 1.54g/kg compared to 1.48g/kg in the control group;
  • Milk protein was 31.2g/kg compared to 30.9g/kg in the control group.

Commenting on the results, Killian O’Brian of Mayo Healthcare said: “These trial results follow on from an earlier university trial where Panatec Rumen Proof demonstrated a significantly higher rumen pH than a control when fed once a day.

“This has an obvious benefit in terms of controlling acidosis at turnout and this Harper trial demonstrated performance benefits as well as a high return on investment.

“One of the most interesting findings is the weight cows were putting on when fed Rumen Proof.

“This trial was in early lactation cows when keeping weight on is a challenge in itself and we expect this extra weight will have a positive impact on fertility.

“In addition, another university trial in the US has concluded where Panatec Rumen Proof challenged the feed antibiotic, sodium monensin and we will be releasing these findings in the next few weeks.”

Rumen Proof is available in parlour packs for direct addition to feed, in TMR packs and through the dairy nut with a micro encapsulation that protects the actives from heat and moisture.