Liquid feed supplement on trial: fitness drink for dairy cows
The sticky, glossy brown liquid is almost like a caramel sauce as it flows over the feed pellets. Stefan Schulte-Urban is giving his cows a healthy treat. The brown substance is nothing less than Malto Drink, a feed supplement designed to give animals an energy boost.
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- Dominique Jeske discusses the feed mix with farm manager Stefan Schulte-Urban.
Stefan Schulte-Urban has been using the product for several months: “Up to then we didn’t use any liquid feed.” Malto Drink, however, caught his interest for two reasons. First, the young farmer wanted to use it to get his cows accustomed to the robotic milking machines; second, it seemed a good way of maintaining the animals’ energy balance at a stable level.
Balancing the energy deficit
“During early lactation cows can mobilise up to 1 kilogram of body fat a day if they don’t have enough available energy,” states Dominique Jeske, Product Manager for Miravit Rind at VitaVis GmbH, an AGRAVIS Raiffeisen AG company. This effort often results in an energy deficit, which up to now has had to be compensated for with doses of propylene glycol. “However, there is a problem with propylene glycol – its palatability. Cows don’t like it, so it is often administered as a drench.”
Sparkling clean feed trough
For Stefan Schulte-Urban this is no longer necessary, thanks to the Malto Drink supplement given at the liquid feed dispenser of the robotic milking machine. The mixture of maltose, glycerine and propylene glycol tastes sweet and is therefore much more appealing to the animals: “The feed trough is always sparkling clean.” The cows get around 300 grams a day, maybe a bit more for fresh cows. In the first 100 days all the animals are given the energy drink, then primarily beef cattle producing over 30 kilos and cows producing over 35 kilos.
Constant production and a healthy constitution
The farm manager also makes spontaneous decisions: “If there are any hoof problems or a drop in production we extend the period of administration and give the animals a boost.” They reward him with constant production levels and a very good physical condition, a shiny coat and excellent health. For Dominique Jeske the advantages of Malto Drink are proving themselves on the farm in Eslohe, in Germany’s Sauerland region. “The compound with maltose stimulates microbial activity in the rumen. The high-energy formula can also help to reduce the risk of ketosis.” Other observations from the first field trials had also been confirmed in Eslohe, she said: “The palatability of the product has a positive effect on the frequency of visits to the feeding station, the animals are fitter, more relaxed and more productive.”
Malto Drink is supplied in 1,000-litre containers and then flows along a 12-metre hose and is fed straight into the robotic milkers with the aid of a pump. “It’s practicable and works very well here,“ says the 27-year-old farm manager. The pump is specially calibrated so that each animal only receives the quantity of Malto Drink it is supposed to.
More information is available from Dominique Jeske, Product Manager for Cattle, tel. +0049 173 7293226, firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.miravit.de