Tuesday, August 4, 2015 - Feed efficiency and income over feed costs are two methods commonly used to evaluate profitability and performance in dairy operations. Feed efficiency is measured by the amount of dry matter feed used to produce a pound of fat corrected milk, while income over feed cost is the amount of income left after all the feed costs are deducted. One of the best ways to improve either one of these equations is to use Probiotics or direct-fed microbials.
Probiotics are useful on a daily basis to improve the efficiencies and profitability of the dairy operation and to counteract stress, weather or diet changes and antibiotic therapy.
In addition, there are two times in the life of a dairy cow when the use of probiotics has a profound and long-term effect on future health and productivity.
The first is during the calf’s life up to weaning. Probiotics have been shown to increase the feed intake of the calf, which helps to improve the calf’s nutrition and ability to fight off disease by getting good bacteria into the animal before the bad ones take over. Research has proven that if the calf is fed higher quality nutrition, it may produce up to an additional 1,500 pounds of milk per lactation compared with calves who received low quality feed. Providing probiotics at birth is the greatest factor in increasing feed efficiency later during the cow’s lactation.
The second most critical time is during the transition period, when a dry cow or heifer enters the lactating herd. The single most important part of the transition period is to increase the dry matter intake two to three weeks prior to freshening and one to two weeks after freshening. The need for energy after calving doubles, so dry matter intake is an important indicator of success. Probiotics are known to increase dry matter intake and energy utilization. Improved intake also reduces the metabolic issues associated with low energy.
COMMENT: Check out Advanced Biological Concepts’ D.U.A. and D.U.A. G.R.P. to provide prebiotics and probiotics that increase Digestion, Utilization and Absorption in all classes of livestock.
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