DAIRY COWS

The increase of the demand for dairy products strengthens the need for productivity of cattle rearing.

The optimization of the dairy production is a challenge for the dairy industry, in terms of:

  • profitability for farmers (health of animals, animal welfare, environment);
  • warranty the quality and safety of dairy products for consumers.

To ensure economic performance, the dairy producers must have:

  • the efficiency of feed rations;
  • a well-functioning metabolism of their animals.

EFFICIENCY OF FEED RATIONS

For an optimum economic efficiency, the dairy producers must optimize performances, quality and safety while contributing to sustainable dairy production.

The rumen is the major digestive organ in ruminants. Its rich and complex ecosystem allows ruminants to digest the fibers contained in feeds. However, the diets are more and more concentrated and may lead to disorders of the rumen. To prevent such disorders, it is possible to influence the balance of the gut flora. According to the rations, the influence on the microflora can also optimize the ruminal fermentations in order to improve the efficiency of the rations via a greater microbial synthesis or a saving of dietary proteins. During their digestion, the ruminants produce unwanted gases (methane and ammonia), which lead to loss of energy and nitrogen for the animal, which also have an environemental consequences. The nutritionists strive to improve feed efficiency to reduce the costs of production.

Due to the genetic selection and the increase of the dairy performances, the optimization of the ruminant fermentations is a key factor of the feed efficiency.


SUPPORT FOR PRODUCTION METABOLISM

The metabolism of dairy production, activated by the reproduction, involves the proper functioning of many organs such as the udder or the liver.
The liver of the ruminants is a central organ in digestion. The liver performs many indispensable functions:

  • it produces, stores and uses glucose, which is the most important source of energy in the body;
  • it synthesizes the fatty acids, triglycerides, ketones and cholesterol, and prevents the fatty infiltrations;
  • it regulates the rate of circulating fatty acids;
  • it ensures the balance between the biosynthesis and the protein degradation;
  • it ensures the storage of the vitamins and their redistributions to the tissues.

Futhermore, the liver supports the processes of degradation and detoxification, as well as the transformation of a large number of endogenous and exogenous substances. With the improvement of their productivity, dairy cows are confronted, mainly in early lactation, with changes in their metabolism. A too early or too intense mobilization of their adipose reserves intensively stimulates hepatic metabolism which can induce liver steatosis or ketosis. The consequences are: decreased appetite, degradation of neoglucogenesis, a decrease in the immune response and an increase in oxidative stress. Finally, any alteration of the immunity will cause an exacerbation of the infectious phenomena (metritis, mastitis ...), but also metabolic with direct impacts on the health of the animals and their reproductive performances. Adequate rearing, control of feeding and adapted feed transitions can prevent the occurrence of these diseases and increase the longevity and production capacity of ruminants.