Maintaining good rumen function is at the core of Cow Health, Fertility and Production therefore it is important to get as much metabolisable energy into them to meet their full genetic potential. To achieve this, we are often adding high levels of concentrate feeds to increase the energy density of the diet to improve the energy intake of the animal, however this strategy presents a challenge.

Rumen pH can drop dramatically because of the fermentation by-products from large amounts of readily fermentable starch and sugars in the diet or using forages which are acidic when they are ingested. When the pH of the rumen drops below pH 6, fibre digestion is impaired and rumen output is reduced. Please see graph (Graph showing pH depression at varying levels of concentrates).

Often in the UK we are running the risk of acidosis whilst striving to achieve maximum output from our animals. Unfortunately, keeping a uniform diet in front of our cows presents a challenge and so many parameters can be subject to variation, so a diet can soon slip into acidosis without any perceivable changes in management.

To keep diets ‘safe’ and reduce the risk of acidosis we have traditionally used a range of products including buffers and yeasts. By using these products, we can help to control rumen pH dips that can depress intakes which in turn reduce the ME obtainable from the diet. However, in our quest to continually improve our nutritional options, we have been watching with interest the development of alkaline feed systems, and have recently been working with FiveF in the development of our new AlkaFibre product.

AlkaFibre is a Home n’ Dry treated Oatfeed product which is inherently alkaline. When included in diets, Alka products have been shown to change the pH operating range in the rumen to a more optimal level for fibre digestion.

In on farm trials AlkaFibre has been shown to have real nutritional benefit. These include:

  • Increased forage dry matter intakes
  • Increased milk yield
  • Increased protein and fat yields
  • Improved muck consistency & cleaner cows at milking

These benefits are especially prominent in high yielding cows on TMR or at grass receiving buffer feed.

If you would like to discuss how AlkaFibre could benefit your farming system, please contact us – we’re here to help.

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