Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Research Findings from the 2012 JAM Conference - Part 2

We often hear that cows fed AA balanced diets have better health and reproduction. A recent large dairy survey confirmed these reports. What is the scientific evidence to support these field observations? In the early lactation study reported in my previous SmartMail the authors also evaluated the impact of feeding an AA balanced, methionine enriched diet on embryo quality. Cows were superovulated with a modified 5d+intravaginal P4 and decreasing doses of Folltropin®.

The protocol used in this trial prevented us from evaluating the potential positive effect of amino acid balancing on the traditional reproductive indices (such as reducing the days to first service or differences in conception rates) documented in previous work. It is well documented, however, that a term pregnancy starts with a healthy embryo.

The cows fed the methionine enriched diets in this trial produced significantly more ova/embryos per corpus luteum. This resulted in 15% more transferable embryos per flush.

protein graph

It is also noteworthy that cows with lower NEFA's at three weeks post-partum had a lower % of degenerated embryos, and a larger % of freezable and transferable embryos. These results partially support the idea that feeding AA balanced rations not only results in higher yields of milk components, but facilitates a more rapid return to positive energy balance with positive consequences on reproductive parameters.

In other words, healthier cows during the transition phase will have better reproduction. These results confirm what we hear from the field reports.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Research Findings from the 2012 JAM Conference - Part 1

In the upcoming series of SmartMails we will be highlighting the findings from the Adisseo-sponsored research presented at this year's JAM conference in Phoenix.

In the first paper (Abstract, Poster) presented by researchers at the Univ. of Wisconsin, the effect on milk performance of adding 12g of extra metabolizable methionine (MET) to a 16.2% CP diet was evaluated over the first 10 weeks of lactation. The Control diet was rich in metabolizable lysine (LYS) - 6.8% of MP according to CNCPS v. 6.1., through the use of a high quality blood source (ProvAAL). The addition of 20g of Smartamine® M achieved a ratio of LYS to MET of 2.8 to 1 close to current formulation guidelines.

protein graph

As expected, an immediate and significant increase (P< 0.01) in milk protein content was observed due to the Smartamine M supplementation which was maintained throughout the trial period. The control cows averaged 2.75% protein whereas the supplemented methionine cows averaged 2.92%, an increase of 0.17%. Feeding Smartamine M also lowered ketone bodies. BHBA decreased from 14 to 9 mg% at week three of lactation indicating a better energy status of these animals.

In the next SmartMail, I will discuss the consequences of feeding the methionine enriched diet on the embryos flushed from superovulated cows.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Adisseo's Wine & Cheese Reception at the 2012 ADSA JAM Conference was a huge success!

The ADSA/ASAS JAM Conference was held in Phoenix and again excellent new material was presented. Adisseo sponsored its Monday night reception for the fifth straight year. Dr. Juan Loor was our speaker and presented new material on "The value of microarrays to explain the positive impact of enriching transition cow diets with methionine". Nearly 150 people attended the reception and Dr. Juan Loor's presentation.

There were numerous papers and posters on the benefits of amino acid balancing and measuring the metabolizable AA contribution of protected lysine and methionine sources. Dr. Daniel Luchini will be commenting on the most interesting material in an upcoming series of technical SmartMails. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Adisseo's Pre-Symposium a Huge Success at the 2012 Florida Nutrition Conference!

January 31st, 2012 - Gainesville, Florida

Adisseo sponsored the Pre-Symposium at the 2012 Florida Ruminant Nutrition Symposium. The general theme was "Improving Efficiency of Nitrogen Utilization by Dairy Cows". We were privileged to have a great line-up of speakers. Below you'll find highlights from each speaker:

 Larry E. Chase - Professor of Dairy Cattle Nutrition, Cornell University

 "Impacts of Feeding Lower Crude Protein Rations on Dairy Farms"

Dr. Chase challenged the audience by presenting results from commercial dairies feeding very low crude protein (CP) diets without losing milk while saving costs, thus improving the bottom line. He argued that dairy producers should consider lowering crude protein levels in rations for two primary reasons. One is to improve profitability by increasing the efficiency of converting feed nitrogen (N) intake to milk N output while at least maintaining milk production (which reduces purchased feed cost). A second reason is that feeding lower crude protein rations decreases environmental excretion of N and lowers ammonia emissions. He demonstrated that on many commercial farms there is an opportunity to lower ration CP by 0.5 to 1.5 units with minimal risk of lowering milk production.

Furthermore, Dr. Chase made the point that instead of using the term crude protein, nutritionists should be looking at the rumen degradable protein (RDP) and rumen undegradable protein (RUP). In fact, dairy cattle do not have a CP requirement but do need absorbable amino acids to meet requirements to support lactation, pregnancy, maintenance and growth.

• Click here to view/download the presentation.
• Click here to view/download the technical paper.

 Michael E. Van Amburgh - Associate Professor, Department of Animal Science, Cornell University

 "Nitrogen Efficiency and Balancing for RDP and RUP with Reference to the CNCPS and NRC”

In his presentation, Dr. Van Amburgh detailed the latest changes implemented in the biology of the ration formulation models used to design rations for the lactating cattle. Improving the efficiency of feed nitrogen (N) use has become a central component of the ration formulation process primarily to reduce feed costs and also to be more environmentally friendly. In the past, dairy rations were over formulated with excess N, which was not used by the cow (instead, that excess N was released, causing environmental issues and costing money to the producer without increasing milk production).

New data are available that better describe the characterization of feed fractionation and these data along with changes in available models suggest that more protein has been available to lactating cattle than previously considered. Dr. Van Amburgh went further explaining that progress continues to be made in balancing lactating dairy cow rations for Amino Acids.

• Click here to view/download the presentation.
• Click here to view/download the technical paper.

 Dr. Chuck Schwab - Professor Emeritus of Animal Sciences, University of New Hampshire

 "The principles of balancing lactating cow diets for amino acids and their impact on efficiency of N utilization."

Dr. Schwab dug deeper into the current knowledge of feeding cows - he went down to the Amino Acid (AA) level. Cows require AA and that's what the nutritionists aim at balancing for in their rations. Commercial sources of rumen-protected methionine (Met) supplements continue to increase and numerous rumen-protected lysine (Lys) supplements have been introduced within the last couple of years. All of these are designed to make it easier to meet Lys and Met requirements without oversupplying the other AA. Dairy nutritionists are also becoming more comfortable with precise balancing of rations for rumen degradable protein (RDP) and rumen undegradable protein (RUP) and lowering RUP which is possible when balancing AA.

Dr. Schwab reviewed current knowledge regarding limiting AA and their optimum concentrations in metabolizable protein (MP). He described feeding strategies to better match AA supply with AA requirements and he reviewed studies that highlight the importance of balancing diets for Lys and Met and their effect on the efficiency of N utilization.

• Click here to view/download the presentation.
• Click here to view/download the technical paper.

It's clear to me that nutritionists will be looking beyond crude protein to design a ration for lactating cows. We now have the tools to apply the concepts developed by the scientific community in the past 40 years. Those nutritionists that already practice the concepts have seen great results!