AHV launches RuFO additive

Animal Health Vision (AHV) has launched a new feed additive,RuFO, designed specifically to improve rumen function in dairy cows.

The new product has been formulated purposely for inclusion in Total Mixed Ration (TMR) diets. Its development recognises fully the very high inclusion rates of forage in the diets fed to dairy cows throughout the year in Northern Ireland.

AHV managing director for the UK and Ireland, Adam Robinson, explained the role that RuFO can play in delivering higher levels of production efficiency.

“The quantity and activity of rumen microbial population determines the efficiency with which all diets are utilised.

One of the RuFO trial farmers, Richard Newell, Katesbridge in Co. Down with AHV's Ruminant Nutritionist Anna Blair

“RuFO has been designed specifically to promote an environment within the rumen that is fully conducive to the growth and activity of those microbial populations that ultimately produce optimal levels of health and productivity. This is being achieved by improved utilisation of feed, which - in turn - releases more energy and protein to the microbes and the animal.

“As a consequence, the use of RuFO will help deliver improved production, fertility and overall health outcomes.”

AHV nutritionist Anna Blair takes up the story:“RuFO has been extensively trialled on dairy farms throughout Ireland. Participating farmers have consistently confirmed the attainment of improved lactation performance, more efficient use of feed, better fertility and improved health status across their herds.”

A fundamental driver of RuFO is allowing farmers to reduce the protein levels within the TMR diet, while not incurring any reductions in subsequent performance.

One of the RuFO farmers, Stephen Gibson, who farms near Hillsborough in Co. Down, reduced the crude protein content of his overall dairy ration by 5% while feeding RuFO to his lactating cows.

He commented:“Taking this approach obviously reduced my meal bills. But this was only scratching the surface in terms of what RuFO actually delivered.

“Cow condition improved almost from the get-go. Animals came into full milk very quickly and sustained very high levels of output throughout their lactations.”

Stephen added:“Fertility greatly improved. This became evident quite quickly due to cows showing very strong heats and excellent first service conception rates.

“But more than that, the cows looked really well while on the RuFO diet. Feet-related problems became less of an issue as did the other health-related problems that can crop up with dairy cows on a regular basis.”

One of the RuFO trial farmers, Richard Newell, who farms near Katesbridge in Co. Down, was equally impressed with RuFO.

“For us, the big driver behind the new product was the significant improvement in fertility that it delivered across the herd.

“The calving interval of the cow group on the RuFO diet fell by 21 days. In addition, the average number of straws needed to get these cows back in calf fell from 3.1 to just 1.9.

“This development alone represented a tremendous saving for the business.”

Anna Blair continued:“RuFO also acts to reduce heating in the TMR diet. All the farmers on the trial reported a consistent and significant reduction in heating levels within the rations fed to their cows. This is of huge benefit to palatability and, crucially, feed quality. The heating process causes degradation of nutrients, so when we prevent heating when using RuFO, we maintain the nutrient value of the TMR diet.

“Another beneficial impact of securing optimal rumen health is the ability of cows to better deal with the performance-related problems that can be caused by mycotoxins.

“Recent surveys have confirmed that mycotoxins are becoming more prevalent in the silages fed to dairy cows throughout Ireland.”

Anna concluded:“RuFO has been designed to deliver improved performance levels across an entire herd or within a specific herd group. RuFO’s success in maintaining feed quality, promoting efficient digestion, and supporting overall cow health and performance has been evident, alongside its hugely worthwhile return on investment.”

For further information, contact Anna Blair on +44(0)7423835065.