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Stackyard News Jul 2011

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Groundbreaking Technology in Feed Efficiency

Livestock nutrition specialist BOCM PAULS is at the forefront of groundbreaking technology to help dairy producers keep their cows healthy, more productive and more profitable as well as keeping the consumer healthy and helping the planet.

BOCM PAULS’ head of ruminant development,
Wyn Morris

Wyn Morris

Following the company’s launch last summer of Lintec, the feed product which mirrors the Omega 3 content of spring grass and reduces saturated fat levels in the milk, M&S has just announced that it will be the first UK retailer to introduce ‘healthier’ reduced fat milk.

Since its launch, Lintec has been fed in 9.4 million cow meals a day in the UK, with on farm data backing up with on-farm data backing up BOCM PAULS’ claims that it produces milk with a lower saturated fat, reduces energy loss, increases yields and improves herd health and fertility.

Now, to further ‘finesse’ the dairy cow’s diet, the company whose core business is feed compounding for all livestock species, has introduced a unique formulation system to check on the level of saturated fatty acids, Omega 3 and methane output. Visiolac is the first and only service that can cost-effectively determine these elements at farm level.

BOCM PAULS’ head of ruminant development, Wyn Morris, said: “We cannot talk to the cows and they can’t talk to us – but through their milk we know exactly what they need to eat in order for them to be nutritionally fit, for them to produce healthier milk with the minimal amount of methane emitted, and with the maximum nutritional efficiency.

“Visiolac gives us the inside story of what is happening within the cow and we can subtly change the diet to bring benefits to every link in the food chain – for the cow, farmer, milk processor, retailer and consumer.”

Focusing on the milk fatty acid content, which includes Omega 3 and 6, BOCM PAULS has developed a unique it3 index to formulate rations with its Dietplan Dairy Pro rationing system to improve feed efficiency – measured as the amount of milk produced per kg of feed fed.

More than 100 farms in a pilot study over the last six months have been running Visiolac with it3 and the rationing programme.

The average efficiency of BOCM PAULS’ customers is around 1.2 litres of milk per kg of feed. Typical increases across the pilot farms have been up to 0.1 litre – worth between 40p and 50p a cow a day, equating to nearly £1,400 a month at 45p a cow a day for every 100 cows.

Ruminant product manager Nick Berni said the aim of the new it3 index – the ‘next step in dairy cow nutrition - was to formulate rations with the balance of Omega 3 and Omega 6 as it would have been when cows grazed more grass.

“Essential dietary fatty acids including Omega 3 and Omega 6 have to be provided by the diet – such as grass, fish oil and linseed - as they can’t be synthesised by the rumen,” he said.

“With it3, the first consideration is to improve the level of milk production, but, in the future the level of saturated fats and Omega 3 in milk will deliver another revolution for farmers.”

The it3 values can be used to manage seasonal and nutritional changes of feed inputs such as grazed grass and to manage cow objectives balanced by economics, such as improving rumen health and fertility.

Visiolac is based on infra red technology on a standard daily milk sample sent to the National Milk Laboratories.

Wyn Morris said the analysis provided information in a clear, visual report on the efficiency of energy, fibre and protein use as well as risk of acidosis and overall health and fertility.

“Half of milk fat is produced by what goes on in the rumen and the other half comes from the diet or body condition. Milk fat analysis is telling us what is going on in the rumen and the rest of the cow,” he said.

“Production of saturated fat is an energy cost to the cow which could result in loss of body condition or fertility. Four to 12 % of gross energy intake is lost as methane,” he added.

BOCM PAULS’ national ruminant manager David Forbes said there would be a small cost for the Visiolac service to customers to cover testing costs and charges would be applied from the beginning of October.

* M&S announced last week (July 6) that following an extensive trial and research project with Reading University it would be introducing a new payment contract for farmers who achieve the required reduced saturated fat levels in the milk they supply.

The retailer, which will be selling the reduced fat milk from October, says it will reduce up to 84 tonnes of saturated fats from its customers’ diets as well as improving the health and welfare of the dairy cows.

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