Dairy Cow Challenges

Gut Integrity

Maintaining gut stability is critical for raising profitable dairy herds. It all starts with the young animals that need support in order to maintain healthy microflora in their intestinal tract.

Optimum rumen function is achieved when the nutrients supplied by the ration maximize the growth and activity of the rumen microflora. The ration must have the right range of particle size to form a good rumen mat, which is essential to retain the finer ingredients in the rumen to be fully fermented and also to encourage “cudding”, a sign that the rumen is working properly.

Fermentable energy is the “driver” of rumen activity. A range of fermentable energy sources along with a yeast culture selected for its action in the rumen will help resist the build up of lactic acid. This should be complemented by protein sources of differing rates of rumen degradability so that the microbes can “capture” all the energy and turn it into microbial growth, increasing both the rate of fermentation and the yield of microbial protein.

Some microbes, particularly the “fiber digesters”, can utilize non-protein nitrogen, and a slow release form of this will help maintain the pool of rumen ammonia at the right level throughout the digestive cycle. This should be used along with more complex immediately-available nitrogen sources.

Dairy Cow Challenges