What are the health and financial consequences of a disturbed ph value in the rumen?
A rumen pH value that is too low can have consequences for the health of your cow. The rumen pH value must be higher than 5.8, when it is lower this can cause challenges. For an average dairy farm the costs of this can quickly run up to €4,200 per year.
In the rumen, volatile fatty acids are formed from energy (starch or sugar) in the feed. If the energy value in the feed is too high, too many volatile fatty acids are formed. Normally, these acids are buffered by saliva which arises during rumination. However, if there is little structure in the feed, the cow cannot ruminate enough. This results in a shortage of saliva to buffer all fatty acids. If this happens, the pH value in the rumen will drop. In addition to an imbalance in the ration, the pH value in the rumen can also drop as a result of situations with high temperatures and a rapid change in the ration. Think, for example, of cows going out to grass again in the spring.
Falling milk yields biggest cost
Twenty percent of dairy cows face rumen pH value challenges during the first three months after calving. The consequences of a disturbed pH-value occur in 60% of the dairy farms. This can be observed in the first instance in rumination activity and a feed intake. A logical consequence of this is a more noticeable challenge – a less optimal milk yield. If the pH value becomes too low, good bacteria are also broken down and dangerous substances are released. If these substances end up in the blood, this can cause major challenges. For example, it can cause challenges with udder health and feet and leg challenges.
Costs of disturbed rumen pH €4,200 per year
If these challenges occur, the costs will quickly mount up for you as a dairy farmer. Non-optimal Milk production has the biggest impact. There are also extra costs for the care of the hooves and udders, a longer calving interval and lower yields due to premature culling.
It is always difficult to estimate the costs resulting from a specific challenge, in this case a disturbed pH value. However, if you check the studies, you will quickly come up with 210 euros per cow per year. On an average farm with 100 dairy cows, that means that per year, 20 cows will experience the challenges of a disturbed pH value. This quickly adds up to €4,200 in costs per year.
Addressing it now will help manage challenges in the future
When the pH-value in the rumen is too low, the cow experiences discomfort and does not eat enough. The cow therefore enters a negative spiral. The AHV Booster Tablet is a good tool to optimise energy levels. This tablet works for seven days and the AHV Booster Tablet contains active vitamin D3, sodium bicarbonate, niacin and energy. These substances ensure that the rumen works more optimally. As a result, the liver can better convert the fat into energy and challenges are managed.
Dairy farmers and AHV
“Even my husband and son are convinced of the AHV Booster Tablet, and we have always have two tubs in stock. You see results very quickly and a few days after application the cows have significantly improved, so no other methods are needed. We are really satisfied with the Booster Tablet,” says Marjolein van Rooijen of Dairy farm Van Rooijen (Netherlands).
Improve resilience with AHV Booster solutions
Graph 1 shows the average rumination activity (rumination time, in minutes) of cows with and without a negative energy balance, by days after calving. These values have been validated based on research by Kaufman et al (2016).
A test population of 25 cows, showing signs of a negative energy balance, entered the AHV Energy & Metabolism Program and received an AHV Booster solution (The AHV Booster Tablet). This solution was administered between day 7 and 8 after calving.
The support of the AHV solution in starting the rumination activity is shown in the graph; the average rumination activity quickly returned to the average value for normal cows.
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