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Optimizing dairy cow farming efficiency through feed efficiency: improve forage fiber digestibility

Published on: 09/09/2020
Author/s : Andrea Formigoni – DVM, PhD in Animal Reproduction Physiology, professor in animal nutrition and feeding, University of Bologna – Italy, on demand of Phileo by Lesaffre.

More than 85-90% of the forage’s fiber could be degraded in a well working rumen. The forage fiber characteristics represent the key point to improve feed efficiency, considering their effects on diet digestibility, dry matter intake and ruminal fermentation pattern control. The fiber “entity” The original neutral detergent fiber (NDF) determination changed during the time; u...

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September 9, 2020

it is a thought-provoking effort in explaining the role of fiber digestibility ultimately related to milk yield increase. Please keep it up.

Syeedmojtaba Syeedmojtaba
Animal Nutritionist
September 12, 2020
It is a outstanding work.
waqas ahmad waqas ahmad
MSc Hons Livestock Management
September 14, 2020
What about use of exogenous enzymes e.g cellulase and xylanase data showed that supplement of these enzymes increase digestibility of ndf more than 15%
Clementine Marien Clementine Marien
Communication Manager
Phileo by Lesaffre Phileo by Lesaffre
Marcq-en-Baroeul cedex, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France
September 18, 2020

waqas ahmad Dear sir, thank you for your reply on our article.
Feeding enzymes to ruminants is not a new approach. This approach exists for many decades, but the results so far are very controversial. An efficient approach is to use enzymes to pretreat the forages (hay and silage) before feeding them to the cow. The rationale behind that is that the enzymes degrading fiber need a specific condition and more time to work. Another issue could be the fact that in the rumen the fibrolytic bacteria are a lot of more efficient then exogenous enzymes and there is no time for the enzymes to reach their potential. Also, many bacteria will utilize the enzymes as a protein source. In Phileo, we believe that the right approach is to support the fibrolytic bacteria in order to enhance the fiber digestion by supplementing yeast probiotic for example. Furthermore, this supplementation leads to better rumen health and performance through nutrition: reducing the risk of acidosis, improvement of milk production & reproductive performance, reduction of the risk of ketosis & inflammation…etc

September 19, 2020
Clementine Marien very informative
Ulrika Brandt Ulrika Brandt
Technical Consultant på ADDCON EUROPE GmbH
September 17, 2020

Interesting reading. But I wonder when you say it should be beneficial to lower the total amount of starch to 26-27% of DMI. Do you mean sugar + starch?
I always trying to get the starch under 20%. Unless a large amount of maize silage is used, then an extra 2% is acceptable. I work in Scandinavia where we grow a lot of grassland of course. But I never heard about a dairy farm with that much starch in their feed rations. It would nearly be too much even for fattening bulls. It would be interesting to hear from others how you compose your rations with starch, cp, rup and ndf.

Clementine Marien Clementine Marien
Communication Manager
Phileo by Lesaffre Phileo by Lesaffre
Marcq-en-Baroeul cedex, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France
September 29, 2020
Ulrika Brandt
Dear Ulrike , thank you for your interest in our article. We discussed with Prof Formigoni and he will be more than happy to discuss the trial with you in more detail.
Kind regards,
September 21, 2020

Dear Ulrika, Feeding Starch is required in formulation but will depend on the conditions or environment as well type of cattle. According to my experience is not the same fattening bulls starch requirements than milking cows with 30-40Lt, as well if in is hot environments where I will arrive at list minimum 22 to 30%as maximum. In a temperate condition where you are using grazing system for fattening bulls, will required to compensate the low energy of the pasture, and in this way push the daily gain, but the requirement for the dairy cows will be high (depending the pasture type and conditions, the grazing system implement as well if in winter or summer).
An example in tropical conditions with cross cattle (Zebu x Holstein or Red Swedish) in fattening bulls and with intensive grazing system without supplementation I will achieve about 700gm daily gain and with supplementation formula I will get about 1kg daily/gain. And the Starch in the total feeding will be about 19%-23% in DM.
Then can see are many factors involved in different conditions and we do not can use the same approach. We need to be more specific to compare experiences.

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