Actisaf helps rumen performance

"…we added Actisaf® premium yeast probiotic to help keep the rumen healthy…"

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The inclusion of Actisaf® yeast probiotic in the milking and dry cow diets at Little Hook farm in Haverfordwest, South Wales, is helping to maintain the performance of a high-yielding herd.

Dan Evans farms in partnership with his parents, Malcolm and Jane, on the family’s 200-acre dairy farm with additional rented land. Their herd of 300 Holstein cows and 200 followers graze outside from April to October. Yields stand at an impressive 10,000 litres rolling average, with butterfat at 4.1% and protein 3.2%.

Milking cows are fed a ration which includes home-grown silage, blend, megalac and straw, along with 50g per head per day of Actisaf® Farm Pack. The family first started using Actisaf® in the main dairy diet last winter.

We had quite wet silage last year,” explains Dan. “This can be challenging for the rumen so we added Actisaf® premium yeast probiotic to help keep the rumen healthy and butterfat stable, and we feel it did the job. This year the silage is looking better, although our second cut is lower in energy and higher in fibre, so we’ll be keeping the Actisaf® in the diet to help break the fibre down and keep everything stable, all whilst maintaining intakes,” says Dan.

Mathew Van Dijk, the farm’s feed advisor from Bibby Agriculture, adds; “I first recommended Actisaf® to Dan on the back of last year’s silage analysis. We were concerned the wet silage could limit intakes and cause other issues such as acidosis, so we added the Actisaf to stabilise rumen pH and prevent potential problems,” he explained.

Actisaf® is also included in the dry cow ration on the farm, and Dan has seen some significant improvements over the last two years. “With dry cows, DAs and milk fever could sometimes be an issue,” says Dan. “It would be fair to say we didn’t have the dry cow diet exactly right and after some research, and as part of other changes to the dry cow diet, we added Safmannan® premium yeast fraction to the dry cow ration two years ago and we have seen great improvements – this year we’ve had no DAs and no milk fever,” he explains.

Safmannan® supports the dry cow’s immune status and future colostrum quality, as well as helping to reduce transition issues and somatic cell counts.

The herd at Little Hook Farm has increased in size from 200 to 300 cows over the last five years, with new building allowing for this progression. “We’re now looking to focus on continually improving cow health,” says Dan. “We also want to increase litres from forage and reduce feed costs with the introduction of home-grown forage maize, and we plan to keep the Actisaf® in the diet to help us achieve this,” Dan concludes.