A saving in feed costs can be obtained not necessarily lowering the quality of the ration and the performances of cows.
What it needs is a little help to the rumen – or better, to rumen bacteria – in order to enhance their ability to degrade a larger proportion of fiber and starch of the heterogeneous quantities coming from the manger.
It’s not enough that nutrients are in the manger and, then, in the cow mouth. The game is: nutrients must be absorbed by the intestine. If not, they end up to the manure. Not a smart thing.
This is particularly true for fiber and starch.
I say this thinking of the experience of a farm I’ve seen recently. In this farm good results were obtained adding a specific pool of yeasts and bacteria targeted to improve fiber and starch digestion.
In this specific case, according to the veterinarian working in the farm, the better digestion in the rumen, due to the additive, ensured an equivalent of 1.5-2 kg more of hay and 7-800 grams more of starch / head / day with the same ration than before.
These numbers was verified by analyzing the undigested matter in the faeces before and after the new feed integration.
An important recovery, that the cow can retain day by day and use to make more milk or better body condition. That means also overall improvement in rumen health and cow health and also reduction of pollution.
Of course, the additive in question is a technologically advanced one. In fact, using a low quality and technology additive (as the farm did previously) results in milk production were clearly worse. And the ration was the same.
In the end, I think that a close cooperation between farms and industries of additives is a key point to use better “difficult” feed for animal nutrition, leaving the “noble” food to the needs of human population. Population that grows, raising new ethical barriers to the use of land, water and food.