Dairy cattle eating ration


The Highly Digestible Fiber for Dairy Rations

NutriFiber, an innovative forage grass solution offered by Barenbrug, caters to the nutritional needs of today's top-performing dairy cows by offering a source of fiber that is both physically effective and highly digestible.

Balancing High-Energy Rations

The demanding diets of high-yielding dairy cattle necessitate a delicate balance of Non-Fiber Carbohydrate (NFC) and Neutral Detergent Fiber (NDF). It is essential to optimize the levels of NFC and NDF to maintain the health of the livestock and ensure economically viable milk production.

Commonly formulated rations frequently contain too much NFC and too little highly digestible, physically effective fiber. Unlike commonly utilized feedstuffs, NutriFiber is ideally composed to properly balance high energy rations for today’s high-producing dairy cows.

Dairy cows eating NutriFiber dairy ration.
Dairy Cows on a NutriFiber Ration

Ruminants fed a diet high in water-soluble carbohydrates (sugars and starches) from grain and other feedstuffs can suffer in a number of ways. A lack of highly digestible, physically effective NDF (peNDF) plus an excess of rapidly fermenting grains and sugars can cause chronic lactic acidosis in dairy cows and other ruminants. Issues such as hoof problems, milk fat depression, high cull rates, transient diarrhea, unexplained death loss, clostridial infections or liver abscesses can be caused by Subacute Ruminal Acidosis (SARA). 

Forages low in Neutral Detergent Fiber Digestibility (NDFd), such as mature alfalfa and grasses, corn stalks or even wheat straw, will provide fiber but can limit feed intake due to slow passage rate. The NDFd of commodities like corn gluten feed and beet pulp are high, but their total NDF content is relatively low and their NFC content is high (see Table 2), making it difficult to achieve the ration target shown in Table 1. Soy hulls do contain a relatively high amount of NDF that is highly digestible and have a low content of NFC, but they are low in the physically effective NDF (peNDF) that cows need for cud chewing and proper rumen function.

The NutriFiber Advantage
  • 17% increase in milk fat
  • Supports high milk production
  • Promotes rumen health
  • Reduces acidosis
  • 25-40% increase in digestible fiber
  • Proven in university trials
Improve Long-Term Health

Acidosis stands as the principal nutritional challenge encountered on a daily basis within feedlots and dairy operations. This condition arises from the swift generation and uptake of acids in the rumen that occurs when cattle ingest excessive amounts of starch, predominantly from grains, or sugar within a limited timeframe. The stress induced by acidosis significantly affects the wellbeing of cattle. Given that grain remains a staple in finishing cattle diets, combating acidosis is a critical concern. Incorporating NutriFiber forages into feed, which boast a higher digestibility and physical effectiveness than traditional wheat straw, can alleviate the occurrence of acidosis, thereby enhancing the profitability of your enterprise.

NutriFiber grasses have been developed to have higher fiber digestibility than alfalfa, corn silage, and other grasses

Dr. David Combs, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Ruminal acidosis is a metabolic disorder that affects cattle when their rumen pH drops below 5.5, well outside the normal range of 6.5 to 7.0. For every animal that exhibits overt signs of a metabolic disease, there are numerous additional animals suffering silently from subclinical effects. The predominant trigger for acidosis is the consumption of a diet high in quickly fermentable water-soluble carbohydrates. If acidosis is acute, it can be fatal. Dairy cattle more commonly experience a less severe form known as Subacute Ruminal Acidosis (SARA).

SARA: Subacute Ruminal Acidosis

  • Persistently low ruminal pH levels, typically between 5.5 and 5.6
  • Lowered appetite
  • Occasional diarrhea
  • Decreased milk yield and butterfat content
  • Compromised immunity
  • Hoof issues such as laminitis or lameness

Incorporating NutriFiber forages into the diet, which provide a more digestible form of physically effective fiber compared to wheat straw, is an effective strategy to mitigate acidosis.

Field of Green Spirit, Italian Ryegrass
Field of Green Spirit, Italian Ryegrass
Increase Milkfat and Maintain Milk Production

On average 50% of milkfat is made from short-chain fatty acids, specifically acetate and butyrate. These are primarily made in the rumen from the fermentation of fiber. Adding NutriFiber to the ration increases the digestible fiber that produces these substrates for milkfat production. 

Research carried out at the University of Wisconsin observed the impact of substituting equivalent amounts of corn and alfalfa silage with NutriFiber silage in cattle feed. The diet that resulted from this substitution showed an increase of 2% in NDF (Neutral Detergent Fiber) and a decrease of 2% in NFC (Non-Fiber Carbohydrate) within the dry matter of the ration. It's remarkable how subtle adjustments can lead to substantial outcomes! In the initial phase of the study, cows fed with the modified diet yielded milk with an enhanced fat content by 0.5%. Two months into the study, the roles were reversed between the control and the treated herds, leading to notable results. The integration of NutriFiber silage into the feed caused an uptick of 0.35% in the milk fat test, unequivocally proving the beneficial contribution of NutriFiber products to dairy nutrition.