Strive for feed efficiency

Striving to be as efficient as possible benefits the farm no matter the situa­tion. A feed efficient animal should eat less whilst maintaining production or eat the same with increasing produc­tion. We must achieve feed efficiency whilst maintaining the health of the cow and emitting less emissions. With an improvement in feed efficiency less nutrients should be wasted and it should lead to less land and resources required for feed production. For example, for a 30 L dairy cow, to improve feed effi­ciency from 1.4 (l/Kg DM) to 1.5 means that we save around 1.4 Kg DM intake /cow/d.

To improve feed efficiency in rumi­nants’ nutrition is one of the main focuses. Of course, other factors come into play such as breed (selecting geneti­cally more efficient animals), days in milk, weather, and management. When it comes to nutrition, feedstuffs should be chosen for their digestibility and nutrient bioavailability, but they should also be cost effective and more environ­mentally friendly.

Feed additives such as ELENSIS and NOVATAN can help in achieving feed efficiency. They can be included into diets through top feeding to achieve higher production which benefits when milk prices are high or they can be for­mulated into diets to increase perfor­mance or decrease the feed cost of diets without degrading animal performance. Both ELENSIS and NOVATAN can be a cost-effective solution no matter the situation as they are adaptable and less subject to price volatility.

ELENSIS and NOVATAN are feed addi­tives based on essential oils (EO) and plant extract. EO are the aromatic volatile fraction of plant secondary metabolites. They can be considered as modulators of rumen fermentation. Selecting specific blends of EO allows for a targeted antimicrobial approach with regards to controlling rumen fermen­tation, for example reducing proteo­lytic activity in the rumen or increasing VFA production (Macheboeuf et al. 2008). Numerous studies have dem­onstrated the ability of EO and their main active components to shift rumen microbial fermentation to participate to improve rumen metabolism of protein  (NOVATAN) and energy (ELENSIS). Essential oils are known to modify rumen microbial activity including the possibility of enhancing or inhib­iting specific microbial populations to optimise carbohydrate fermentations (Calsamiglia et al. 2007; Bodas et al. 2012). Different scientific publications have shown the potential of essentials oils and other natural active ingredients to improve performances in ruminants (Calsamiglia et al. 2021).

NOVATAN is a blend that has a targeted action on reducing protein breakdown in the rumen offering a sustainable way to improve protein efficiency and/or give the possibility substitute pro­tected meals, achieving the same level of bypass protein, and reducing the cost of the diet. Thanks to the best availability of amino acids into the hindgut, milk composition is also improved. Another way of using NOVATAN is to place it on top of diets to improve protein effi­ciency!! The results will be a better milk yield, milk quality and fertility. (Figure 1)

ELENSIS improves energy efficiency in the digestive tract of ruminants. The essential oils have been specifically selected to have a synergistic action in the rumen and in the hindgut. It improves the rumen balance by shift­ing fermentation towards propionic acid (glucose precursor) which is the most efficient VFA for energy utilisation. The essential oils have two specific coatings for targeted release within the rumen and hindgut – a slow release and fast release coating meaning that the product is effective over time in the rumen and bypasses the rumen to be effective in the hindgut. ELENSIS can be formulated into feeds to reduce fat and use com­petitive raw materials, where feeds can be formulated at least cost but without compromising on quality and digestibil­ity. Alternatively, it can be added on top of diets to give extra energy to the diet and improving animal production (+ 1.5 l of milk as an average). (Figure 2)

NOVATAN and ELENSIS can offer a cost-effective solution whilst being less subject to price volatility. They can help with improving feed efficiency. However, whatever the strategy is, it is important to formulate the diet accord­ing to the animal’s need and secure the quality of energy and protein whilst being cost effective.

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