7th July 2014

A live yeast feed has shown to significantly improve milk yield and reduce Somatic Cell Score at all stages of lactation for cows fed different diets across the yield spectrum. The Yeast has also been heralded a first because it is stable during storage and pelleting.

Manufactured using a patented hydrolysis process, and using technology exclusive to Belfast-based Devenish Nutrition, the yeast is derived by enhancing the nutritional and health properties of whole brewers’ yeast cells to give bioactive particles which generate more volatile fatty acids in the rumen.

Extensive trials at Portlaoise research farm in Ireland showed the yeast increased daily milk yield by up to 1.8 litres per cow while reducing Somatic Cell Score by up to 0.24 x 10 log 10 per cow.

Morgan Sheehy, ruminant director with Devenish, said: “The bioactive particles of the yeast stimulate rumen microbes, creating better fermentation and greater output of volatile fatty acids, particularly propionic acid. The result is increased milk production. The crucial factor is that we have created a live yeast that can be pelleted without compromising its function and is active across the whole lactation for cows with different milk yields.

“Trials showed that cows across the yield spectrum gave 1.8 litres more when fed the hydrolysed yeast compared with the control; and crucially the increased yield did not negatively impact on body condition score or milk composition,” added Mr Sheehy.

A total of 248 Holstein-Friesian cows were used in two separate but identical trials. Cows were divided into two groups, control and treatment.

The cows were allocated to the groups based on criteria such as previous milk yield, body condition score and days-in-milk. The only difference between the groups was that the hydrolysed yeast was fed to one group and not the other.

Somatic cell count – in the trial referred to as somatic cell score (SCC) – was reduced by 0.24x 10 log 10 for the 30-litre plus cows on treatment compared with the control, and reduced by 0.11 x 10 log 10 for the 24-litre plus cows on treatment compared with the control; the same reduction (0.11 x 10 log 10) was achieved for the whole on treatment compared with the control.

“This new generation yeast has demonstrated itself capable of viably increasing milk production while reducing SCC. At a cost of around 8 pence per cow per day, a seven-fold financial return is a realistic expectation for most dairy herds,” said Mr Sheehy.

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