Effects of direct-fed Bacillus pumilus 8G-134 on feed intake, milk yield, milk composition, feed conversion, and health condition of pre- and postpartum Holstein cows.J Dairy Sci. 2015 Sep; 98(9):6423-32.JD
The usage of direct-fed microbials (DFM) has become common in the dairy industry, but questions regarding choice of strain, mode of action, and efficacy remain prevalent. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of a DFM (Bacillus pumilus 8G-134) on pre- and postpartum performance and incidence of subclinical ketosis in early lactation. Forty-three multiparous Holstein cows were assigned to 2 treatments in a randomized complete block design; cows in the direct-fed microbial treatment (DFMt, n=21) received 5.0×10(9) cfu/cow of B. pumilus in 28 g of a maltodextrin carrier, whereas cows in the control treatment (CON, n=22) received 28 g of maltodextrin carrier alone. Treatments were top-dressed on the total mixed ration daily. Treatments were applied from 21 d before expected calving date to 154 d after calving. Cows on treatment DFMt tended to have lower serum haptoglobin concentration than CON cows on d 14. Cows on treatment DFMt had higher IgA concentrations in milk than CON cows during the first week after calving. Cows fed DFMt had higher yields of milk, fat-corrected milk, energy-corrected milk, milk fat, and milk protein during the second week of lactation than CON; however, we found no differences between treatments on milk yield and milk components overall. Cows on DFMt tended to have higher feed conversion and to have lower prevalence of subclinical ketosis (beta-hydroxybutyrate >1.2 mmol/L) on d 5 than cows fed CON. Dry matter intake, body weight, and body condition score were not affected by DFMt supplementation. Milk production efficiencies (calculated based on fat-corrected milk and energy-corrected milk) were higher by 0.1 kg of milk per kilogram of dry matter intake in cows that received DFMt compared with cows that received CON. In conclusion, cows receiving DFMt tended to have lower incidence of subclinical ketosis than cows receiving CON. Cows fed DFMt tended to have higher feed conversion and evidence for greater immunity than CON. Supplementation with B pumilus 8G-134 may provide benefits for transition cow health and milk production efficiency.