Silage additive to improve fertility

Silage treated with Powerstart inoculant has shown an improvement in fertility worth �50 per cow.
Silage treated with Powerstart inoculant has shown an improvement in fertility worth �50 per cow.

Silage inoculants are usually seen as a way to increase milk from forage, but now one product and bacterial strain has been proven to have a big impact on fertility too.

To celebrate this breakthrough Genus ABS is offering customers a free entry into a draw for a Suzuki Ozark 250 Quad Bike for every 100 tonne of inoculant purchased. This bike has been sponsored by JMK Quads, Loughbrickland who are authorized dealers for Suzuki, Kawasaki and Honda quads.

But the big question in farmers minds is “How can a silage inoculant improve how quickly cows get back in calf?”

“When a major study involving over 100 herds and 25,000 cows showed that silage treated with Powerstart achieved on average, a ten day reduction in calving to conception interval, worth £50 per cow, the immediate question was why,” explains Dr Dave Davies of Silage Solutions.

Dr Davies explains that Powerstart contains a unique strain of Lactobacillus which means it is able to make better use of all the sugars available in grass, which results in a more rapid fermentation with two significant consequences for the nutritional value of the silage.

“The first is that by making use of all the sugars in grass, less of the available sugar is used during the fermentation which means that there is more sugar in the resultant silage and available to the cow. The second is that by accelerating the rate of fermentation the protein in the grass is preserved more effectively with a higher proportion of true protein and fewer free amino acids, something that will not show up on a silage analysis.

In silages with more free amino acids a large proportion of protein is lost as rumen ammonia which is excreted as urea into the blood and milk. And it is the urea levels that are the key to why fertility improves with Powerstart treated silage.

Converting ammonia into urea wastes energy which reduces the energy available for milk production. If less energy is available from the diet, the consequence in early lactation is that cows will be in extended negative energy balance and will lose more condition over a longer period of time which is well understood to have a negative effect on fertility.

“High blood urea reduces fertility in three ways,” Dr. Davies continues. “Firstly, cows with high urea levels have longer intervals between heat periods which mean you have fewer opportunities to breed cows. Secondly, high urea and ammonia levels have been shown to hamper the development of the eggs in the ovary, leading to poorer quality eggs which reduces the chance of fertilisation. Finally, high blood urea levels alter the environment in the uterus and reduce progesterone levels which mean cows are less able to maintain a pregnancy.”

Stephen Lavery, Genus ABS added: “We are delighted to team up for another year with JMK Quads. They are well recognised as the ‘business to go to’ for Honda and Suzuki ATVs and Kawasaki Mules.”

For further details contact Stephen Lavery on 077 6805 8450 or your local Genus ABS representative.