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Paying Attention to the Efficiency of Feeds in the Diet

the importance of maintaining a healthy rumen

The Importance of Maintaining A Healthy Rumen

Pressures on prices highlight the need to pay attention to the efficiency of feeds in the diet and the importance of maintaining a healthy rumen. Maximum fibre fermentation makes the best use of forages, the cheapest component in diets, usually constituting up to 60% of total dry matter intake. Ways of aiding this include:

Molasses are a good way of addressing the low sugars in this season’s silage caused by lack of sunshine. Cane molasses are a key ingredient in dairy cow diets, added for palatability and binding characteristics and have an important nutritional role in a balanced diet to help get maximum milk from forage whilst promoting rumen health.

Cane molasses, when digested in the rumen produce organic acids which then convert into glucose, the main energy source for cows. In comparison to starch, the fermentation of sugar yields higher levels of the organic acid known as butyrate. Butyrate is utilised in preference to other organic acids in the rumen as a source of energy and is more effective in aiding the development of the rumen metabolism and improving dry matter intakes. In summary cane molasses, in addition to improving diet palatability are also an excellent source of readily available energy that efficiently feeds rumen bugs to help maximise milk production and promote rumen health in dairy cows.

Fats have the potential to be a valuable component to diets this winter as an aid to balance any shortfalls in energy supply, help to increase milk production, raise butterfat levels, improve fertility and maintain body condition which can also prevent lameness. The fats market has weakened over the summer with some products down by as much as £100/t. Global demand for palm oil has slowed in all markets apart from India causing a surplus of vegetable oil supply fuelled by ample supplies of soya and increased production of palm oil in Malaysia and Indonesia. The economic slowdown in China has also put pressure on prices. 


ProLin is an efficient way of delivering unsaturated fatty acids (omega 3) to the dairy cow without upsetting the rumen metabolism and fibre digestion. ProLin is a rumen protected source of linseed which increases the supply of both unsaturated fatty acids and protein to the dairy cow to help fertility and performance.


•    Unique processing technique to protect the oil from rumen degradation
•    Oil within ProLin is better rumen protected than extruded linseeds
•    Higher bioavailability of omega 3 than extruded linseeds
•    Omega 3 inhibits production of prostaglandin
•    High in energy and DUP


•    Maintains milk fat concentration because of its rumen protection
•    Maintains fibre digestion in the rumen helping to prevent acidosis
•    Aids fertility (helps reduce embryo loss)
•    Improves body condition
•    Increases milk production when formulated into balanced diets.

Sugar beet
Sugar beet is an effective source of digestible fibre–based energy, buffering the rumen against acidosis. It’s well known for its palatability which helps drive growth and performance by increasing intakes of home grown forages. 
This season imported sugar beet and soya hulls have competed well against home produced however if molassed 6mm pellets are required the only guaranteed source will be Supaflow which should be contracted as tonnage has been reduced this season.

Source Details

Judith Clifford, Senior Alternative Feeds Trader

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