The effect of dosing Megasphaera elsdenii NCIMB 41125 (Me) on lactation performance of multiparous Holstein cows
The objective of the study was to determine whether early post-partum dosing of Megasphaera elsdenii NCIMB 41125 (Me) will be beneficial to performance of high producing TMR-fed cows. Sixty multiparous Holstein cows were randomly allocated to four treatments (60% or 70% concentrate diet and placebo or Me [single oral dose of 1011 cfu in 250 mL suspension on day of calving and Days 10 and 20 post-partum, respectively]). Observations were recorded between calving and 80 days post-partum. Performance data were analysed for all 60 cows combined and for the 40 highest producing cows only, since they were considered more susceptible to ruminal acidosis. For all 60 cows, body weight, condition score and milk yield tended to increase with Me, but data for the 40 highest producing cows suggested that this response could be ascribed primarily to higher producing cows on the higher concentrate diet. Dry matter intake and milk protein were not affected by Me, whereas milk fat percentage increased with Me but only in cows on the 60% concentrate diet. Results support the hypothesis that dosing with Megasphaera elsdenii is most likely to benefit higher producing cows with greater risk of acidosis.
Keywords: Dairy cow, SARA, concentrate, feed intake, body weight, milk yield