CARGILL has upgraded its Equaliser rumen buffer this autumn to better match the rumen’s requirements throughout digestion. The line-up of new ingredients now used in the buffer have been shown to be effective at the stages when the cow most needs them.
A three-year research project by Cargill focussed on rumen function – particularly on the acid load and when the buffer needs to be most effective to maximise function and maintain a healthy environment.
“Rumen buffers are typically rated for their strength and power,” says ruminant technology manager Philip Ingram (pictured). “But our work has highlighted that a buffer with more precise actions, which works more consistently and for longer, can be more effective.”
Prior to the first feed of the day, the rumen is fully buffered with a pH well above six. But when new feed enters the rumen, the silage acids cause a surge in acid levels.
Shortly afterwards, fermentation of sugars and readily fermentable carbohydrates peaks, which drives down the pH in the top of the rumen. This continues for a few hours as fresh and older feed mix and creates another wave of acidic conditions and ‘hot zones’ in the rumen.
“If the rumen worked like a cement mixer and the acids were spread to the side of the rumen and make contact with the rumen wall, which has a lot more buffering potential, then a more ideal rumen environment would result,” adds Dr Ingram. “But the rumen doesn’t work like this, and we need to rely on a good buffer in the feed to help the rumen when it’s most needed.”
Cargill has used its improved understanding of rumen action and advanced technology to test the buffering abilities of a large number of ingredients to formulate the latest Equaliser rumen buffer.
“It is the first time this depth of testing has been used to develop more precise rumen buffers for use on farm. This has enabled us to use ingredients that have been shown to match the rumen’s exact requirements,” says Dr Ingram.
This ‘core’ Equaliser buffer is used in the company’s range, which includes Equaliser Fibre+, developed for diets with high fibre silages, and Equaliser Starch+, for including in diets with high starch forages or grains.