Actisaf helps deliver consistency

Consistency is key for Lancashire dairy farmer, Steven Holden (pictured), and that’s why he feeds his herd Actisaf live yeast.

Steven milks 95 cows at Mill Brow Farm, Hutton, with cows averaging 9,000 litres/year at 4.21 per cent butterfat and 3.24 per cent protein. Milk is supplied to Arla, so composition is important as well as overall yield.

“We had previously seen issues with acidosis in the herd and have tried feeding competitor yeasts in the past with variable results,” Steven explained. “Around three years ago we started working with Richard Bainbridge at ARN and he suggested we feed Rumisaf (which contains Actisaf) as part of a wider review of our nutrition.”

Steven’s herd is housed at night all through the year and has access to grazing by day in the spring and summer months. Cows are fed a partial mixed ration, which is formulated to provide M+28 litres and comprises grass silage, Trafford Gold, blend and, when required, molasses. Cows are all run as one group, and calve all year around with a slight bias towards the autumn.

“Richard suggested we follow a very simple nutrition approach that is all about keeping cows healthy so that they perform,” Steven explained.

“We take three cuts of high quality grass silage each year and buffer feed throughout the grazing period to maintain performance.

Cows are housed in cubicles in the winter and fed TMR and then fed to yield in the parlour, with the highest yielding cows getting 8kg.”

And the results speak for themselves.

“Since we started working with Richard and included Rumisaf in our rations, milk yield has increased by around 1,000 litres/cow and fertility and milk quality are good. In the last year our calving index has fallen from 413 days to 387 days and our calving to conception has fallen from 122 days to 98. We average 1.7 serves/ cow and submission rate at 100 days stands at 78 per cent.”

“Ultimately, I feed Rumisaf to ensure that the rumen bugs are working properly in my cows,” Steven concluded. “Rumisaf may not be the cheapest feed additive out there but it definitely works and delivers consistency in terms of performance. Since I’ve been feeding it our fertility has been good and yield has improved. What’s more, whereas in the past butterfat always dropped when we turned cows out to grass, it now remains steady, which is great as we are paid on milk composition.”

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