For high and efficient milk production, the challenge is to maximize energy intake by the cow as soon as possible after calving. This involves feeding increased levels of high-concentrate diets that are rich in starch and other rapidly fermentable carbohydrates. During the transition from typical dry or steam-up diets, fed before calving, to fresh-cow or lactation diets, the micro-organisms in the rumen have to change from predominantly fiber digestion to starch digestion.
Lactic Acid Production
As these micro-organisms adapt to high-concentrate diets, they convert the starch components into desirable Volatile Fatty Acids (VFAs). Even under careful diet management, the starch supply can exceed the micro-organisms capacity for VFA conversion. Therefore, other rumen micro-organisms such as streptococcus bovis and lactobacilli convert starch components to lactic acid which is 10-fold stronger than VFAs and responsible for severe drops in rumen pH.
Megasphaera elsdenii: The Lactic Acid-Utilizer
Megasphaera elsdenii is the most important lactic acid-utilizing micro-organism of dairy cattle adapted to high-concentrate diets. It plays a critical role in preventing the buildup of lactic acid in the rumen during adaption to high-concentrate diets. However, Megasphaera elsdenii numbers are often low when cows are fed low-concentrate diets and needs time to increase to sufficient levels to handle high-concentrate diets. This is a primary issue of the conventional transition or fresh cow feeding program as it can delay feeding the ultimate high-energy diet. There is also a common imbalance between lactic acid-utilizing and lactic acid-producing micro-organisms during early adaptation to high-concentrate diets. Read more about Megasphaera elsdenii
Lactipro’s Robust Strain of Megasphaera elsdenii
Lactipro contains billions of viable cells of a patented Megasphaera elsdenii strain, isolated from the rumen of cattle well-adapted to high-starch diets. Drenching dairy cows with Lactipro supplies an immediate population of this potent lactic acid-utilizing Megasphaera elsdenii in the rumen, long before the animal’s own Megasphaera population has responded to the change from roughage to a high-concentrate diets.
Lactipro can be used in conjunction with transition or fresh cow programs to:
- Put fresh cows on feed faster.
- Promote consistent feed intake at freshening.
- Transition cows more profitably.
Important: Any changes to a transition or fresh cow program should only be implemented in consultation with a professional animal nutritionist or veterinarian.