Energy is the first-limiting nutrient for cows grazing pasture therefore, energy supplementation is necessary for high producing animals. In pasture-based systems, the concentrate is fed twice a day in the dairy parlour during the milking procedure. Consumption of large amounts of fermentable carbohydrates results in a drop in rumen pH and this may induce rumen acidosis. This may lead to reduced intake, lower fibre digestion and depressed milk yield. Supplemental yeast offer great possibilities in stabilising the rumen fermentation patterns and, therefore, improving dry matter intakes (DMI). This may increase milk production, milk composition parameters, rumen volatile fatty acid concentrations (VFA) which leads to higher profits. Investigating these responses, a trial was conducted, where live yeast (Levucell SC 10 ME-Titan) was supplemented to Jersey cows grazing ryegrass/kikuyu pastures, supplemented with 6 kg (as is) dairy concentrate per day split over two milking periods. Thirty multiparous high-producing Jersey cows between 30 and 120 days in milk (DIM) were selected, blocked and randomly allocated to control (no yeast) or live yeast treatment groups. Ten fistulated lactating cows were added in a cross-over design (two periods and two treatments) and all 40 cows strip grazed Italian ryegrass (Lollium multiflorum) and kikuyu pastures as one group. A new pasture strip was allocated after each milking and pasture was measured using a rising plate meter (RPM). The yeast product Levucell SC 10 ME – Titan containing Saccharomyces cerevisiae CNCM I-1077 was supplied by Lallemand S.A.S (19 rue des Briquetiers, 31702 Blagnac cedex, France). The Levucell SC 10 ME – Titan is a micro-encapsulated formulation for premix and pelleted feeds. The yeast treatment group had the yeast pelleted in with the dairy concentrate at a concentration of 167 g of yeast per ton of concentrate, to obtain the required intake of 1 g yeast per cow per day as specified by Lallemand. Milk yields were recorded daily and composite milk samples were taken every two weeks to determine, milk fat, protein, lactose, milk urea nitrogen (MUN) and somatic cell count (SCC) contents. The fistulated cows were adapted to their respective diets and treatments for 21 days after which the pH measurment, rumen fluid sampling, and In sacco study were conducted. Milk yield, 4% fat corrected milk (FCM) yield, milk protein and lactose percentages, SCC, body condition score (BCS), and live weight did not differ (P > 0.05) between treatments. The milk fat% however, was higher for the yeast supplemented cows at 4.24% compared to the control group of cows of 3.99% (P < 0.05). The mean acetic and total VFA concentration (mmol/L) for the control treatment was higher compared to the yeast treatment (P < 0.05). There was no difference in the fermentation patterns of VFA, the pH and NH3-N values measured between treatments (P > 0.05). The mean In sacco neutral detergent fibre (NDF), organic matter (OM) and DM disappearance was higher for the yeast treatment group of cows after a 12 and 24 hour incubation compared to the control group (P < 0.05). The mean ruminal NDF disappearance of ryegrass in cows supplemented with yeast increased by 11.9% and 6.3% compared to the control at the 12 and 24 hour incubation periods, respectively. With higher fibre digestibilities in the rumen and more acetate available at the mammary gland and subsequently higher milk fat percentages, the yeast effects on stimulating the cellulolytic bacteria in the rumen, may be a possible explanation for the results in the current study and it is well documented in previous studies. Live yeast supplementation resulted in higher milk fat percentages which improved milk price.
Dissertation (MSc(Agric))--University of Pretoria, 2011.