Plant extract product targeting reduced methane emissions in dairy cows gets US launch

By Jane Byrne contact

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/Boogich
© GettyImages/Boogich

Related tags: methane emissions, coriander, eugenol

Feedworks USA is introducing Agolin Ruminant, a product certified by the UK’s Carbon Trust to improve feed efficiency and reduce enteric methane, to the US dairy industry.

The main active compounds of this product are food grade and chemically-defined plant extracts including coriander (Coriandrum sativum) seed oil (up to 10%), eugenol (up to 7%), geranyl acetate (up to 7%) and geraniol (up to 6%) along with some preservatives such as fumaric acid.

The product is developed and manufactured in Switzerland by Agolin SA. In the USA, Agolin is imported and distributed by Advantec Associates and Feedworks USA Ltd.

Peter Williams, partner at Feedworks USA, told us that the plant extract product is typically applied through a mineral mix or feed added to the TMR.  “Larger dairies buying a separate mineral mix would have it included in that mix.”

The cost of the product is between $0.04 to $0.06 per cow per day with a return of $0.50 to $0.70 per cow per day on dairies.  “So 10 to 1 or better just for productivity and feed efficiency.”

Its use in beef production would deliver a similar return but with a reduction in the up-front costs due to lower inclusion levels, said Williams.

Agolin Ruminant is suitable for use in all types of dairy cow farming, he said. There is also an organic version of the product, added the Feedworks USA representative.

Research results to date

The company said extensive research work has been undertaken on Agolin Ruminant.

A meta-analysis​ combining 23 studies across 10 different countries showed that Agolin supplementation increased milk yield by 3.6%, fat and protein corrected milk by 4.1% and feed efficiency by 4.4%, plus methane emissions were estimated to be lowered by about 10%, it noted.

A University of California-Davis study​ evaluated 20 mid-lactation Holsteins, grouped by parity and days in milk and randomly assigned to a top-dressed treatment with Agolin or an un-supplemented control. During the 56-day trial, a research team led by Frank Mitloehner, professor of animal science at UC-Davis, used head chambers to sample enteric gas emissions, including methane, carbon dioxide, ammonia and nitrous oxide. “Results showed that enteric methane was reduced by 11.2% per unit of milk in the Agolin-supplemented cows, and enteric ammonia was 18% lower. Dry matter intake was similar between both groups.”

In a recent field trial ​at Spruce Haven Dairy, Union Springs, New York, researchers determined a $0.72 gain per cow per day for the cost of about $0.05 per day, said the company.

The study included four pens of around 150 multiparous, mid-lactation cows per pen, with cows averaging more than 110 pounds of milk per day. All cows received a common TMR ad libitum, with Agolin administered to two pens via a concentrated farm pack to provide one gram per cow per day.

Milk yield did not change with the inclusion of Agolin, but fat and protein percentages were elevated. There was a significant improvement in fat yield per cow per day, resulting in a tendency for fat corrected milk and energy corrected milk to be greater for the Agolin-fed group, reported Feedworks USA.

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