Maximising dry feed and stubble using Optisync™; A new player in rumen efficiency
Editorial written by Alltech Lienert for the Summer 2020/2021 Seasons Magazine
Unlike with previous years, the 2020/2021 summer season is looking to provide ample opportunities to graze a bulk of dry feed and pasture. As a plant matures, the crude protein, energy and digestibility levels of the plant decline and the fibre component increases (Figure 1). With this in mind, a ruminant animal is dependent on the microbial population of its rumen to unlock the energy potential of dry feed.
Figure 1: Crude protein, energy and digestibility levels of the plant decline as it matures.
When rumen degradable protein levels are low in the rumen, the microbes are less efficient at digesting fibre. This leads to lower feed intake and lower growth and production. Trials have shown that by providing a rumen degradable protein source, dry matter intakes are increased and production results are improved (Salami et al. Animals 2020, 10, 657).
An effective method of aiding rumen digestibility of dry paddock feed and stubble is supplementation with a palatable source of both rumen degradable protein and some bypass protein, such as cottonseed meal. To complement the protein in cottonseed or as a protein source on its own, Optisync™ can be used.
Optisync™ is Alltech’s safe and traceable non-protein nitrogen (NPN) source with controlled release technology. Optisync provides a safe and constant level of ammonia to the rumen environment, which means rumen bacteria have continued access to this excellent rumen degradable protein source. As a result, studies show that diets containing Optisync have improved microbial protein production as well as increasing Organic Dry Matter digestibility (Harrison et al, 2006). Simply put, Optisync gives you more for less.
Optisync can provide space in the ration, enabling producers to increase energy sources without having to compete with the protein inclusion. Figure 2 below shows the Ammonia (NH3) deficit created when using Urea as an NPN source. By feeding Optisync, NH3 is kept at more stable and safe levels within the rumen, which keep the microbial population growing and therefore digesting fibre.
Figure 2: Rumen ammonia release from urea after feeding
Recent published research (Salami et al. Animals 2020, 10, 657) summarising all the trials conducted with Optisync in beef cattle, indicate that:
- Dietary inclusion of Optisync increased the overall liveweight gain (LWG, +92g/day/head) of growing and finishing cattle.
- Diets supplemented with Optisync enhanced the overall feed efficiency (FE, +12 gLWG/kg DMI/head) of growing and finishing cattle.
- Inclusion of corn silage as a forage source in diets enhanced the positive effects of Optisync on LWG and FE.
Figure 3: Improvements in daily weight gain can be seen when including Optisync in the diet.
A Carbon Trust validated solution: The Carbon Trust has validated that the replacement of high-carbon ingredients (such as soya) with Optisync significantly reduces the risk of a high carbon footprint.
How should I use Optisync™?
Optisync can be mixed with forages, like good quality silages and/or dry feeds (cereals, hays) in a mixer wagon or on a feed pad. It can also be added to concentrated meals and can be pelleted.
ON-TOP: Optisync can be used over the top, of existing diets if the rumen degradable protein levels are low, to increase overall protein levels. Which is particularly relevant if there is a shortage of protein due to poor pasture quality or high NDF (fibre) levels.
REFORMULATED: Optisync can be used to reformulate balanced diets where there is a need to create space for the inclusion of more energy (for production) or roughage (to prevent acidosis). It is also reformulated in diets where a lot of expensive vegetable protein is being used.
FINISHED PRODUCT: Optisync is also included in some of our salt-based licks such as Blueprint Utilize which are fed ad-lib in the paddock. The addition of vitamins and minerals can help with the utilisation of dry feed, by minimising the risk of deficiencies and should be considered with any supplementation program.
Blueprint® Utilize Cattle & Sheep (27.5% CP) – Weather proof
Blueprint Utilize is a granulated weatherproof loose mineral lick for cattle and sheep containing elevated levels of protein and a balance of essential vitamins and minerals. The advanced blend of essential organic minerals, trace elements, vitamins and protein provide animals with the daily levels they require for optimal growth, performance, reproduction and maintenance when consumed at the recommended rate. Antibiotic free.
For more information contact your local Alltech Lienert sales representative or call 1800 649 231.
Read more from our latest Seasons magazine