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Working Ranch - March 2018

hen added to beef cattle diets, prebiotics and probiotics may help maintain health, improve digestion and advance overall performance. These products enhance microbial balance in the intestine and rumen. Interest in these products has ramped up, especially with the implementation of the 2017 Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD). Probiotics, also known as direct-fed microbials, are a live microbial feed supplement, which improve the intestinal microbial balance. Prebiotics are non-living cells that nourish benefi cial microbes in the rumen. To understand prebiotics and probiotics, it is helpful to review the ruminant digestive system. Ruminant animals have one stomach with four compartments, resulting in effi cient forage digestion. The rumen is the fi rst and largest section of the stomach, and works like a fermentation chamber. It contains up to 50 gallons of plant fi bers, liquids and billions of bacteria, protozoans and fungi. The rumen constantly churns the contents, breaking plant fi bers into smaller bits for the rumen’s “bug” population to digest. The fi bers ferment and encourage cudding, which further breaks down fi ber and increases saliva production. Saliva keeps the rumen pH at the proper level, maintaining a healthy microbial environment. Without a robust, active microbe population, the rumen cannot work properly. If feedstuffs do not contain the right balance of ingredients, such as fi ber, energy, nitrogen and water, the microbe species can become imbalanced. This may result in acidosis or large populations of E. coli, for example. Kevin Glaubius, Ph.D., Director of Nutrition and Did you know? Seventy percent of the calf’s innate immunity is located in the digestive system. Regulatory Support, for BioZyme, Inc., says probiotics are living microorganisms that work synergistically with other microbiota (Cowboy Dictionary alert! – this word means ‘an ecological community of microorganisms that work together in the rumen and small intestine’). They reduce E. coli by either directly competing with the organism or by introducing an organism that changes the optimal pH E. coli prefers, reducing its growth rate. “Prebiotics, on the other hand, are not live organisms,” Glaubius explains. “They provide support to the microbiota, allowing them to bounce back and recover faster after a stress event. Many of the disease organisms like Salmonella, E. coli, and Clostridium are opportunistic, MALLOREE BARNES W One is ALIVE The other is NOT Together they help digestion…a LOT BY GILDA V. BRYANT 34 I WORKING RANCH I MARCH 2018


Working Ranch - March 2018
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