The nutrients bypass which is a route to cutting costs
When nutrients are broken down in the rumen they produce gases which is a necessary, but also inefficient use of valuable nutrients.
As an animal's nutrient requirement increases, rumen bacteria alone are unable to cope with the increased requirements, therefore bypassing nutrients into the hind gut offers both additional nutrients but also less gas production and therefore a more efficient use of feed nutrients.
Most usual protein sources such as rapeseed meal, distillers and soya contain both rumen degradable and bypass protein. The same can also be said for starch, where cereals also contain both rumen degradable and bypass starch. The key question is for every kilogram of a raw material that’s fed, how many grams of bypass protein are supplied. This can be expressed as the amount of metabolizable protein from bypass for MPB.
NWF Agriculture has been manufacturing unique and high quality protected feeds for over 10 years under the Ultra brand. The three products consist of Ultra Pro-R (protected rapeseed meal), Ultra Soy (protected soya) and Ultra Starch-W (protected wheat).
While offering the same amount of energy and starch as wheat, Ultra Starch-W allows higher intakes to be achieved with a significantly reduced risk of causing acidosis. This is because more of the starch is protected and passed through to the hind gut.
The same principle is applied to Ultra Pro-R and Ultra Soy where the approximate amount of bypass protein in rapeseed meal is 30 per cent but increase to 76 per cent in Ultra Pro-R, and soya at 39 per cent by-pass is increased to 84 per cent in Ultra Soy.
There are threefold benefits in feeding NWF protected feeds.
Firstly, improved performance – UK diets based on grass silages and home grown cereals tend to be higher in rumen degradable nutrients. Bypass energy and protein is then required to supply the nutrients above and beyond what is capable from rumen bacteria. A lack of bypass nutrients can often be seen in cows not achieving their peak yields.
Grass silages this season have been analysing very well. Oversupplying nutrients to the rumen can create a challenging environment for bacteria, therefore supplying bypass nutrients is not only more efficient, but essential for rumen health.
And thirdly there's meeting environmental responsibilities. Feeding excessive protein can be detrimental to both the cows' health (due to negative energy balance) and the environment due to higher urea nitrogen levels. Feeding bypass protein can enable farmers to reach metabolizable protein requirements while feeding less overall crude protein and therefore reducing waste and cost.
Adam Clay is NWF technical manager