Research confirms more solids possible from rumen conditioning

Published Friday, 10th November 2017
rumen conditioning

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

New Research Results

The results come from recent independent research carried out at University College Dublin (UCD), and presented at the American Dairy Science Association annual meeting in June this year. Including Acid Buf in the ration significantly improved milk fat concentration (3.87 vs. 3.68%), maintained milk protein levels (3.26 vs. 3.21%) and produced a numerical rise in energy-corrected Milk (ECM) of 1.74L/day (35.42L vs. 33.68L).

The net result was a 7% increase in total milk solids production (2.35 vs. 2.19 kg/cow/day) and a 1.74 kg/cow/day rise in yield of energy-corrected milk (ECM).

The 12-week trial used 42 mid-lactation Holstein Friesian cows fed a typical European-style total mixed ration (TMR) either with or without addition of Acid Buf. The ration had a 55:45 concentrate:forage ratio, equal mix of grass and maize silages and 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,” states 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 (pH5.8) by nearly eight hours (2.9 hrs vs 10.7 hrs). The total time spent below the threshold for acidosis (pH5.5) was cut from more than six hours to less than one hour (48 mins vs. 6.1 hrs).

Time below pH5.8 (fibre digestion compromised)

Time below pH5.5 (threshold for clinical acidosis)

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

“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 pH5.8-6.2 range can substantially improve rumen function and energy release, leading to subsequent benefits for feed efficiency, milk output and milk fat production in particular.”

Proven On-farm Performance

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

As well as producing milk for the 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. 

“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 three pence per cow per day, Acid Buf is easy and cost-effective. The cows are also quieter and more content, and both milk yield and constituent levels have improved.” 

James Pratt, Studdah Farm, North Yorkshire

Working in Harmony

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

“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 bio-available calcium and magnesium allowing the amount of CalMag in the ration to be at least halved!”

Acid Buf calcareous marine algae-based rumen conditioner:

  • Helps optimise rumen pH and prevent acidosis
  • Maximises time rumen spends between pH5.8-6.2
  • Increases fibre digestion, raising butterfats and milk yield

The result? Better rumen function, greater feed efficiency and more performance.

Laptop mock abv calculator

Online Feed Fibre Calculator

Calculate the percentage of dietary fibre in your feed

Our calculator is designed for nutritionists and uses averages of global raw materials to calculate the dietary fibre content (plus other more in-depth fibre parameters) of finished animal feed. These parameters are available within AB Vista’s Dietary Fibre analysis service (part of our NIR service).

Click here to access

Sign up for AB Vista news

A regular summary of our key stories sent straight to your inbox.


© AB Vista. All rights reserved 2023

Website T&Cs     Privacy & Cookie Policy     Terms & Conditions of Sale     IDC Policy