A Major Step Forward Towards Preventing Acidosis in Cows

Written on 09/09/2021
Oliver Becker

As a plant breeding and seed company we’re not only creating innovative plant varieties for food production of humans. We also want to make sure we can provide healthy feed for animals. Recently we managed to tackle a particular problem in feed for cows. Acidosis is a metabolic disorder in cows that occurs when the pH level in the first stomach, called rumen, falls below normal. This happens when cows are not properly transitioned onto high sugar/starch feeds or when large quantities of high sugar/starch feeds are included in the diet.

For the past three decades, our company has been conducting breeding activities aimed at silage corn and at the moment we have one of the largest and most efficient breeding programs for that purpose. And based on those many years of research and the experience we have accumulated; we are now providing farmers with a mix of two silage corn hybrid varieties, which we proudly call: DUO Silo.

It is a well-known fact that combining a fast starch and a slow starch in the feed of cows, helps with the ruminant digestion, but it also increases milk production and, as a cherry on the pie, it decreases acidosis. So, we are offering farmers an alliance of two silage corn hybrids, which are obviously agronomically compatible, but these varieties are also complementary in their nutritional values. The hybrids are carefully selected for a number of important agronomic traits such as high yield, kernel weight, maturity, plant height, lodging resistance, and above all, feed value.

By sowing two different varieties and making sure that are evenly distributed in the field, the farmers obtain a homogeneous silage that provides the cows with a balance between slowly and rapidly digestible starch.

And it is exactly these two different digestion speeds that guarantee an even and more spread-out supply of energy without the risk of acidosis. The trick is that the rapid starch will be broken down in the rumen while the slow starch will be digested in the rest of the digestive tract.

A few years ago, we started rolling this out in Romania, and from there in Moldova, Hungary, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Ukraine, and Russia. The results of more than 100 tests conducted all over Europe, Russia and Belarus in technical institutes and dairy farms confirm the strength of DUO Silo’s performance and its beneficial effects on milk production. The results have been excellent: milk production increased with 1.7 to 4 litre per cow per day, and milk quality with an additional 0,5 points protein, and 1,2 points fat. By 2023 we intend to offer DUO Silo to farmers in West-Europe.