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Animal Health

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Livestock Production
Wednesday, July 18, 2007 5:46:53 PM
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Optimising physiological potential in early lactation

Dr Virginie Noirot, 
Research Manager Animal Nutrition Division, 
Phode SA (Albi, France)



Genetic progress, combined with improved nutritional management, has increased animal performance. Increased productivity puts extra pressure on the animals' metabolism and health, especially during stressful periods of their life cycle.


For example, the peri-partum phase, with the establishment of lactation, is a very critical point for cow metabolism and health: immunity and appetite are lower, and metabolic troubles are frequent.


Calving and early lactation are at the cornerstone of the whole milk production campaign. Therefore, today's nutritionists and dairy herd managers must be even more careful to adapt diets to the needs of early lactating cows, optimise energy balance, optimise herd management and environment to limit additional stress factors, as well as maximise feed intake and cow digestive physiology.


French company Phode's Phoderush is a blend of natural plant extracts specially developed to optimise the physiological potential of highly productive farm animals during critical and stressful points of their life cycle.


Stresses negatively impact cows' appetite and feed intake. Phoderush's aromatic core stimulates oropharyngeal receptors directly linked to the appetite centre.  Attractive ingredients also stimulate voluntary feed intake. The dairy cow's appetite and feed intake can hence be optimised during these stress periods.


Around calving, with the onset of lactation, the energy needs of dairy cows are greatly increased, while feed intake is still low. As a result, cow energy balance is always negative, leading to body fat utilisation and liver neoglucogenesis. To limit the disastrous metabolic consequences usually linked to parturition and early lactation, Phoderush provides a concentrate of energy: 1 kilogram of Phoderush brings 2,600 kcal (natural energy supply).


Lastly, early lactation is typically a period of high oxidative stress for the cow. At cell level, oxidative stress (the excess of free radicals in the organism) results in damage of the phospholipids constituting the cell membrane, proteins or DNA, with consequences on major cell functions.


In dairy cows, oxidative stress can lead to alterations of cellular structures, resulting in organ damage, in particular the liver; decreased immunity, resulting in higher risks of placenta retention, mastitis, milk fever, respiratory and digestive diseases; impaired reproductive functions (decrease in fertility, viability and vitality of embryos and offspring); and loss of performance (decrease in growth rate and milk production, increase of the feed conversion rate).


In vitro studies have shown that spice extracts contained in Phoderush can help restore oxidative balance by acting at various levels of the body's own anti-oxidative systems:

    • They stimulate activity of the endogenous anti-oxidant enzymatic systems, while inhibiting pro-oxidant endogenous enzymes.
    • They protect cells against free radicals by scavenging them.
    • They protect cells against lipid peroxidation, which is a main source of cell membrane damage in organs such as the liver. 

As a result, the animals' body defenses, metabolic status and liver integrity are preserved.


In order to study the benefits of Phoderush formulation for dairy cows, a field trial was conducted between September 2006 and January 2007 in a research station in the US. Results showed increased feed efficacy and improved metabolic status.


For more of the article, please click here.


Article made possible through the contribution of Phode SA.

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