As we all know far too well, high corn prices, by-product costs, and other feed expenses create challenges for producers in the dairy industry. Prices have continued to increase and are predicted to take a chomp out of 2022 profits.
While feed costs may vary from year-to-year and region-to-region, aside from the initial cost of the animals in your herd, feed represents the single largest expense within any operation. As a result, producers continue to seek solutions to help improve feed digestibility and utilization, which will eventually save them money in the long run. Thankfully, there are additional all natural, science-based solutions that can be used.
Feed Digestibility – Get More from Your Feed Investment
Incorporating a digestive health and immune support product into your ration can provide multiple benefits, such as supporting rumen fermentation and digestive efficiency. It can also help strengthen the immune system in situations where health challenges may arise.
Increasing the population of both starch and fiber-utilizing bacteria within the rumen allows the cow to be more effective in turning feed into energy in order to be used for growth and production. Improved digestibility can result in better feed intake and utilization by the animal. With a digestive and immune support feed additive, you can help lessen the amount and size of undigested feed particles (such as corn) in the manure.
When it comes to digestibility, we’re ultimately looking at what animals in the herd can digest and supply to the body for maintenance, growth, and production. Remember that as digestibility is enhanced, less feed is needed to gain or maintain ideal body condition, resulting in better feed efficiency and often reduced cost of gain. Feed efficiency, as measured by feed-to-gain ratio, is perhaps the most telling and real-world number when it comes to assessing feedstuff utilization, and for applying economics to the decision to include a supplement. Ultimately, we want to get the most out of our feed as possible. With a digestive and immune support product, you can help make this achievable for your herd, which can help support milk production, body weight, feed efficiency, and dry matter intake.
How it Works – The Breakdown
Using a postbiotic feed additive to help support digestive health and immune strength is foundational to ration utilization, as it balances the rumen microbiota and optimizes the rumen environment. Within the rumen, there are many species of microorganisms including bacteria, protozoa, and fungi. These microorganisms play a key role in optimizing rumen function by producing enzymes that aid in digestion of dietary components such as fiber and starch.
A stable rumen environment is also important for proper digestibility of feed. This includes optimal rumen pH and balance of microorganisms for the diet being fed. When an animal’s rumen is functioning optimally, it has the right balance of microbiota – bacteria, protozoa, and fungi – in a stable environment to digest feed more efficiently, making more energy, protein, and other nutrients available to the animal. This will help improve ration digestibility and optimize gain and feed conversion, resulting in improvements in production and overall health.
Research-Backed and Stable
Work with your nutritionist to utilize a product that is backed by research and is stable across various situations. Research behind these products gives the producer confidence that it will work in his or her operation. Moreover, some products, such as fermentation products, are more stable and thus more reliable under a wider range of uses (such as inclusion in dry or liquid balancers, pelleted feeds, minerals, tubs, etc.).
As we look to the future, it appears as though high feed costs may be with us at least through much of 2022. It’s important to consider what steps can be taken to help overcome this challenge. By incorporating a digestive and immune support product into your feed, not only can you help your herd be more efficient, but it could potentially help to decrease your feed bill and the cost of gain. While this is of great value at any time regardless of ration costs, it’s especially important at a time such as now when feed costs are being driven up by higher corn and by-product prices.