Animal feed flavors, also known as feed additives, can play an important role in enhancing dairy production. However, their impact is indirect and depends on several factors. Before we discuss the correlation between animal feed flavors and increased dairy production we need to understand how flavor substances are transmitted within a cow’s body.
Both the respiratory and digestive systems play important roles in conveying these flavor substances to the milk. In the case of certain feeds, the odors can pass into the cow’s bloodstream from the air in the lungs and then get transported to the udder. These flavors are then ultimately seen in the milk. Moreover, a cow’s digestive system can absorb some flavor-producing compounds and subsequently convey them to the udder. For specific feeds, a combination of both the respiratory and digestive tracts is involved in transmitting flavor to the milk.
Dry matter intake and safe practices
When you decide to incorporate flavors, introduce them gradually to strike a balance between their costs (ROI) and milk production. However, make sure you do not overlook the palatability of the feeds and opt for flavors with lower inclusion rates.
Here DMI (Dry matter intake) plays an important role. What is DMI? It is simply the amount of feed a cow consumes per day on a moisture-free basis. Veterinary science experts have reported that 1-5g per day/cow/day is a safe portion to boost milk production.
This practice can lead to an enhanced milk yield through the accurate estimation of dry matter intake and more efficient conversion of feed into essential nutrients.
Research on the use of specific feed flavors has shown positive results but scientists are still evaluating the impact of other factors such as the composition of the base feed, type of flavor, the nutritional needs of the cattle, and more. Sometimes the effects can also change by the overall management practices on a given dairy farm.
Hence, farmers often work with animal nutritionists and veterinarians to develop feeding strategies tailored to their specific herd and circumstances. They may conduct trials to assess the effects of different additives and flavors on feed intake, milk production, and cow health.
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