Rumen-friendly pellets take ‘fizz’ out of feeding

A new rumen-friendly feed manufacturing process could help reduce the risk of acidosis and improve animal performance.

Feed manufacturer Harbro is producing feed with larger particles of the main raw materials used in compound feeds – such as barley, maize and peas – at its Birkhill Mill. A steam and compression process is then used to bind the ingredients in the pellet to prevent them from breaking up.

The company says the “scratch factor” of the larger particles which, when broken down in the stomach, stimulate rumen function in cattle and sheep, reducing the risk of acidosis and improving animal performance.

“The rumen-friendly concept is being incorporated into a limited range of pedigree feeds initially, where it is important to achieve high feed intake and enhanced performance without impairing rumen function, but will be a feature of other feeds in the Harbro range in future,” said nutritionist Matt Palmer, at the new feeds launch.

Raw materials in compound feeds are normally ground to a fine grist for ease of pelleting, but diets containing a high proportion of finely ground materials tend to be digested too quickly, leading to fermentation in the rumen – the so-called “fizz” factor – and reduced animal performance.

“The new process offers all the advantages of a coarse mix for feeding to livestock with the consistency and easy handling of pellets,” said Mr Palmer. “It ensures animals receive a safe, balanced feed that will improve rumen function.”

In addition to the rumen-friendly concept, the new products contain the live yeast, to optimise rumen pH and fibre digestion, a blend of essential oils to reduce stress and enhance feed intake, and a full range of high-spec minerals, vitamins and trace elements.

“With the careful selection of Scottish quality raw materials and additives, we aim to produce feeds that are not only of the highest nutritional quality, but also promote animal health,” said Mr Palmer.

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