With high fluctuations in feed, milk and meat prices, improving feed efficiency and maximizing income over feed cost (IOFC) is crucial. While feed efficiency is a technical parameter closely related to ruminant economic performance, it remains difficult to measure in most real-life farms. Feed efficiency is mostly linked to the efficiency of the digestion.
It is well recognized that impaired rumen function negatively affects feed efficiency, overall animal performance and health. Ruminant experts at Lallemand Animal Nutrition have defined a set of practical indicators to facilitate the early detection of suboptimal digestion and related performance issues on the farm. These indicators have been integrated to develop the Rumen Efficiency Investigation (REI) audit tool.
Thanks to this tool, a global dairy rumen efficiency survey could be conducted, which reports about half of the farms have suboptimal levels of the key rumen efficiency indicators, which is further supported by research data on the prevalence of sub acute rumen acidosis (SARA) on dairy farms. Supplementation with the rumen-specific live yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae CNCM I-1077, used as a rumen modifier, consistently improves the rumen indicators at the farm level, which is also reflected with improved performance.
In conclusion, rumen efficiency is often suboptimal and dairy producers and their nutritionists should continue their efforts to control SARA and optimize diet digestibility for optimal cow comfort and farm performance.