Knowledge of nutrition for economy, welfare and environment
Knewe Biosystems Ltd (KBL) has developed a prebiotic for production animals, with particular benefits for use in dairy husbandry. In this compendium, we have assembled a number of documents demonstrating aspects of the value of this product, known as knewe®-Mg for ruminants, and Equi-knewe® when used in horses.
The documents that follow have been prepared for several purposes, including
- Marketing equity;
- Exemplification for patenting purposes, and;
- Support for equity raising and distribution agreements in New Zealand, Australia and the UK.
Broadly, they cover production improvements, contributions to animal welfare and minimisation of environmental impact. They are representative samples and summaries of the information available, and we provide them for background. We look forward to providing further detail as required, noting that we continue to collect information in a number of areas.
Knewe®-Mg prebiotic action in dairy cows
Dairy trials carried out in 2012 in Southland (Coles, 2014) gave the first indication that CDS dried using the Knewe® process was behaving as a ruminant prebiotic. Observations included that milk production was increased (see figure 1), and that the product also caused an increase in milk solids yield in percentage terms. The increase appears to be largely due to an increase in the amount of milk fat secreted, and the combination of increased milk production and milk solids concentration indicated a milk solids yield increase of up to 23%.
In the first trial, samples taken for milk composition analysis were drawn between 90 and 120 minutes after stripping at the morning milking. Milk solids concentration in these samples appeared unusually high, so only relative changes we used as part of the analysis of the results of the trial. In the second trial, milk composition analysis samples were drawn from the production at the morning milking, which occurred approximately 14 hours after the previous evening’s stripping. The composition results were therefore deemed likely to be more consistent with those normally found during herd testing, and with those obtained from tank sampling.
Figure 1: Milk volume production with time, Trial 1
Figure 1 shows that there is a lag in milk production increase for experimental animals in the first three weeks of the trial. This lag is due to the somewhat later calving in the experimental mob, but once the impact of calving passes, it is clear that the product leads to a substantial prolongation of the log phase of milk production growth compared to the control-fed animals. If this delay in calving is ignored, the milk production advantage from feeding the product is still 6%.
In the second trial, feeding was delayed until 10 weeks after mean calving date. A baseline set of milk composition samples was taken, prior to milk production data being collected. In this baseline set, there was no significant difference between the parameter values for the three experimental feeding groups. Therefore, in the following analyses, no allowance is made for variation in individual baseline values.
Trial two milk composition analyses.
Materials and methods
Selection of animals to provide samples for detailed analysis was previously described (Coles, op. cit.). For each treatment, seven animals were used, and mean baseline milk production and milk component yield were determined.
For each milk composition sample, the relevant measure of daily milk yield and a three-day average centred on the sampling day were determined. Estimates of daily milk component yields were made based on both estimates of milk volume. Estimates of total milk solids yield using both milk volume estimates were compared. The precision of the statistical analysis of the samples based on the three-day mean volume yield was higher than on the single day, as expected, so all analyses reported below are based on three-day mean milk production estimates.
Milk solids analysis
As described, analysis of variance was conducted on milk solids daily yield. Table 1 shows the results.
Table 1: Daily milk solids yield
Figure 2 shows the variation in daily milk solids yield during the course of the trial:
Daily milk solids yield (kg)
Percent of control
Figure 2: Daily milk solids production
The figure shows that the milk solids production advantage begins to be seen less than a fortnight after first feeding the product. Furthermore, it indicates that full advantage is only obtained from feeding the full recommended dose. There is no indication from these numbers that an advantage might be obtained from increasing the dose further: this requires further work.