Mar 06, 2020
LOOSE COWS AT GRASS ARE NOT INEVITABLE!
Mar 06, 2020
We all know that when grazing dairy cows are on 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 dairy cows will not milk to their potential.
One farming couple who know all about the challenges of managing cows at grass are Kevin Gleeson and Anne Sugrue who lease 65ha in Borrisoleigh, Co. Tipperary. They run 147 mainly spring calving Holstein cows, averaging 7,500L/year and 570kg milk solids per year from 1300kg of concentrate. Two herds run between a Lely A4 Robot and a herringbone parlour.
“We were approached by Bryan Buckley from Lallemand Animal Nutrition to see if we would take part in a live yeast (Levucell SC) trial using our Lely robot herd for the 2019 grazing season,” explains Kevin.
“We have good results with Lallemand Animal Nutirtion’s silage inoculants so agreed to the live yeast trial, but after having difficulty sorting the dispenser for the robot we didn’t get things started until May. This made me a bit skeptical of seeing a benefit since we’d missed the early lush spring grass.”
Selected by Lallemand Animal Nutrition with INRA in France, the rumen specific live yeast Levucell SC (Saccharomyces cerevisiae CNCM I-1077) helps increase fibre digestion and stabilise rumen pH – reducing the risk of Sub Acute Ruminal Acidosis (SARA). Through improved rumen function and feed efficiency cows can digest and utilise grass better and Levucell SC has been proven to increase milk yield and quality.
Bryan Buckley explains, “Of the 55 robot milked cows, we allocated 27 to receive Levucell SC (1X1010 cfu/h/d) based on days in milk and yield with the remaining 28 receiving no additional supplementation to their 5kgs of 14% cereal based dairy nut. In addition to the robot’s recorded performance data we investigated key visual indicators of rumen efficiency on three occasions during the four month trial.”
The grazing dairy cows supplemented with Levucell SC produced on average 0.5L more milk per day with significantly higher fats and proteins (see table) than the non supplemented cows.
During the trial Kevin and Anne noticed a difference in manure quality amongst the robot milked cows with unsupplemented cows being much looser. The supplemented cows were considerably cleaner throughout the trial (see photo).
“Once we saw the difference we made the decision to put our other herd onto Levucell SC ,” says Kevin. “It didn’t take long for these cows to start presenting much cleaner in the herringbone parlour, confirming the results seen in the robot. Having completed the trial and run the figures, the additional milk solids versus the cost of the yeast gave a return on investment of 6:1 and we’ve asked our feed supplier to include Levucell SC TITAN in our dairy nuts for this year.”
Levucell SC can be included in minerals, blends or compound feeds in its protected format, Levucell SC TITAN. It is also available as a farm pack which can be mixed or top-dressed with farm rations.
Click here for our video on the Titan production process
For more information on this trail please contact us via the webform or call the office on 01684 580022.