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Welcome to the fourth addition of our Nutrition Series, a six-part video and article series brought to you by Dairygold and Alltech Ireland during April and May 2020.
Eddie Phelan, Alltech Munster Regional Manager
In a previous article we discussed the merits of including Yea-Sacc® into diets and the effect that has on improving milk solid production. This week the focus has moved, and we are looking at the effect Yea-Sacc® has in maintaining production and performance during the breeding period.
The rumen or stomach of the cow supplies most of the energy for production and can be seen as the engine that drives the machine. It is important to have a healthy rumen working as efficiently as possible in order to utilise this energy. The use of Yea-Sacc® from Alltech has been proven to improve rumen health and efficiency.
Yea-Sacc® is Alltech’s flagship product and was originally launched by Alltech in 1983. Being on the market for over 37 years it is the most widely researched yeast product available. In fact, 47% of all yeast research in ruminants done is on Yea-Sacc®. Yea-Sacc® is also the only live yeast that has produced positive results on cow performance at Irish research centres, such as University College Dublin (UCD).
The longer the rumen stays in its most efficient zone of digestion, the greater the potential of the rumen to improve overall performance.
How Does Yea-Sacc® work?
Step 1 – It stimulates the bacteria responsible for both fibre digestion and acid removal within the rumen.
Step 2 – It achieves an increase in pH leading to better digestion of both feed and grass
Step 3 – This increased availability of nutrients allows for more milk production
Step 4 – While reducing the need for the cow to take those valuable nutrients from its body reserves.
Yea-Sacc® & The Breeding Period
In order to achieve improved target calving rates, farms must strive to optimise dry matter intake (DMI) for cows throughout the transition period to minimise the level and duration of negative energy balance and body condition score (BCS) loss during early lactation. Poor management of the cow during this critical phase in the cow’s life cycle can be attributed to a lot of the fertility issues linked to body condition loss, particularly at grass.
Yea-Sacc® reduces the demand on the cow’s body reserves by maximising intake and increasing the efficiency of its use and therefore reducing the need of an animal to take these valuable nutrients from its own body reserves.
Research carried out at UCD on the Alltech yeast technology, Yea-Sacc®, has backed this up. This trial work, which was carried out on a grass-based situation, showed that Yea-Sacc® created a more stable rumen environment by significantly improving rumen pH, which allows for improved feed and grass utilisation.
An increase in volatile fatty acid (VFA) production in the rumen signifies that more energy is being produced from the diet. In the same study mentioned above, UCD demonstrated that cows fed Yea-Sacc® had significantly higher levels of VFA (Figure 2) due to increased rumen function and a more stable rumen pH, while it increased the level of bacteria responsible for fibre digestion.
The trial also highlighted that Yea-Sacc® fed animals mobilised less body fat reserves (non-esterified fatty acids (NEFAs)), an indication that cows were retaining better body condition. The lower levels in Yea-Sacc® fed cows indicated a lower requirement for mobilisation of body reserves following increased energy supply from the diet. Too much mobilisation causes poor liver function and issues like ketosis.
While many factors can be associated with issues around fertility, the addition of Yea-Sacc® has been proven reduce days to first heat by 7 days compared to cows which did not receive Yea-Sacc®.
While different live yeasts will have different effects, Yea-Sacc® is the only live yeast studied in Irish grazing conditions to produce consistent and proven results. These include increased milk production, improved feed efficiency and improved fertility parameters. Dairy farmers should give more consideration to which live yeast product they are choosing for their own farms.
Yea-Sacc® from Alltech is included in some of Dairygold’s range of feeds. Talk to your local ASM to speak about including Yea-Sacc® in your feed.