Maintaining a healthy rumen environment leads to an improvement in milk production and feed efficiencyPublished Monday, 5th July 2021
Feed ingredients can have a significant impact on animal health and performance. Unbalanced diets can put dairy cattle at risk from diseases, such as sub-acute ruminal acidosis (SARA). Here we look at the impacts SARA can have on cattle herds and how a rumen buffer, such as Acid Buf, can promote a healthier rumen environment.
Why do we need to include a rumen buffer, such as Acid Buf, in dairy cow feed?
Modern dairy cows are now eating more than 4% of their bodyweight. The increasing use of highly fermentable starch, alongside highly digestible grass, can lead to an increase in acid concentrations in the rumen.
This will lead to rumen pH dropping below 5.8 for extended periods of time and the rumen will experience SARA. This will impact the cow’s ability to extract nutrients from feedstuffs and can lead to reduced productivity and performance.
A healthier rumen environment leads to an improvement in milk production and feed efficiency.
What is SARA?
SARA is a common problem in modern dairy production. It is caused by a lack of adequate, physically effective, dietary fibre in animal feed. Ruminants require larger/longer sized dietary fibre particles to stimulate their chewing action and the resultant saliva production which in turn helps to maintain reticulo-ruminal buffering capacity. The optimum requirement of fibre for dairy cows depends on the physical form of the fibre source, the chemical composition of the total ration, the stage of lactation and level of production. If these requirements aren’t met then SARA can occur.
What are the symptoms of SARA?
On-farm symptoms of SARA include variable feed intake which can contribute to weight loss/poor body condition. Even when cows are eating, SARA can lead to reduced rumination (cud-chewing) and then to cud balls, mild diarrhoea and/or the appearance of undigested grain in faeces. It can also lead to foamy faeces containing gas bubbles, as well as low milk fat syndrome and laminitis, the inflammation of sensitive layers of tissue (laminae) inside the hoof.
How effective is Acid Buf for dairy cows?
Acid Buf is an efficient and effective rumen buffer derived from calcareous marine algae and is 100% natural. Stabilising rumen pH levels for longer, its unique honeycomb structure breaks down slowly in the rumen and provides twice the buffering capacity of traditional defenses.
Acid Buf is sustainably harvested from the north Icelandic coast and its unique marine minerals aid a healthy rumen function. This provides added benefits to the animal when compared with other calcareous marine algae sources.
What are the key benefits of Acid Buf?
Acid Buf has been demonstrated to improve feed utilisation and efficiency, and increase milk yield and components. It does this by stabilising rumen pH and optimising rumen conditions.
It is also a source of highly bio-available calcium and magnesium.
Its impacts have been proven through peer-reviewed published research and it has Carbon Trust and Organic certification
Has Acid Buf been thoroughly tested?
Three trials on three continents using three different diets have returned one positive consistent result.
Using Acid Buf can provide in excess of a 6:1 return on investment. Published papers and comparison work have shown Acid Buf to be the most cost-effective buffer on the market and it provides added benefits, including additional space in the diet and extra buffering capacity to improve the overall balance of nutrients.
How important are calcium and magnesium in dairy and beef cow diets?
Calcium and Magnesium are important for nerve, muscle function, immune system and bone health. Different sources will vary in their ability to solubilise in the rumen and be made available to the cow. Acid Buf supplies a very bio-available source of both calcium and magnesium.
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