Arm & Hammer Animal and Food Production
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Three takeaways we’ve learned from feeding a Bacillus-based feed additive.

Posted September 22, 2022 by Dr. Ben Saylor, Dairy Technical Services Manager

Every #ScienceHearted solution we create goes through continual research to validate its efficacy and to discover new potential uses. Recently, our team concluded two new studies to discover the effect that feeding a Bacillus-based feed additive, CERTILLUS™, has on digestive health, ruminal bacterial populations, milk production, daily dry matter intake and milk production efficiency in dairy cows.

The details of the study design.

When it comes to #ScienceHearted research, study design is of the utmost importance to ensure accurate assessment of cause-and-effect relationships between independent and dependent variables.

This first study was conducted in conjunction with Oklahoma State University to determine the effect of CERTILLUS™ on multiple performance metrics when fed to lactating dairy cows. Twenty-eight Holstein cows were assigned to one of two treatment groups for a 25-week study. One half of the cows received a control diet which was a TMR consisting of alfalfa hay, whole cottonseed and concentrate.

The second half of the cows received the control diet plus 2 billion cfu/head/day of Bacillus coming from our CERTILLUS dairy product. Cows were housed together but fed individually using electronic feeders.

The second study was field-based, and conducted at a commercial farm in New York state. Just over 2,300 Holstein cows were split into groups by lactation number and average milk production and then randomly allocated to control and treated pens. In total we had 1,160 cows on the CERTILLUS-treated diet and 1,142 cows on the control diet throughout the course of the study.

The takeaways.

Here are three key takeaways our team learned from these exciting trials:

  1. CERTILLUS-fed cows produced more energy-corrected milk per day.

    In the Oklahoma State trial CERTILLUS-fed cows produced a statistically significant 4.1 lbs. more energy corrected milk (ECM) per day than control cows, which was driven by an increase in milk fat (MF) percentage. MF was around 4.0 for control cows and 4.4 for CERTILLUS cows.

    In the New York trial, by the end of the study we observed that CERTILLUS-fed cows produced 3.3 lbs. more ECM per day than control animals—another statistically significant difference. In this case, the improvement in ECM production was driven by milk volume, as component concentrations were not different between the treated and control groups.
  2. CERTILLUS-fed cows had improved feed efficiency.

    In the Oklahoma State trial, we found that CERTILLUS-fed cows had fewer feeding events and reduced feed intake compared to control animals. Combined, the improved production of ECM and moderate reduction in feed intake contributed to about a 15% improvement in feed efficiency with CERTILLUS supplementation.
  3. CERTILLUS-fed cows had significantly lower concentrations of blood inflammatory markers.

    In the New York trial we made the exciting discovery that cows fed CERTILLUS had significantly lower concentrations of two different blood inflammatory markers, specifically haptoglobin and lipopolysaccharide binding protein (LBP). While neither haptoglobin nor LBP were at levels to cause concern of clinical disease in this trial, CERTILLUS-fed cows showed lower levels of these inflammatory markers than control cows by the end of the trial.

The original focus with CERTILLUS was on its ability to control pathogens in dairy cows. And while our regional formulas still do that very effectively, these trials along with numerous in vitro experiments conducted at The ScienceHearted Center have helped us see that CERTILLUS really influences all three pillars of a resilient cow: pathogen control, rumen function and hindgut integrity.

We’re discovering new and exciting benefits of feeding this Bacillus-based feed additive all the time. If you’re ready for a more resilient herd, it’s time to introduce your cows to CERTILLUS.

To learn more about these recent CERTILLUS trials, check out Dr. Ben Saylor’s recent episode of Food Chain Chats or contact your ARM & HAMMER™ rep today.




Want to learn more about what our #ScienceHearted team can do for your operation? Fill out the form below and one of our experts will be in touch shortly.



About Dr. Ben Saylor

Dr. Saylor has extensive experience in ruminant nutrition including his current role as a dairy technical services manager at Arm & Hammer Animal and Food Production. Dr. Saylor earned his bachelor’s degree in animal sciences from the University of Arizona, a master’s degree in ruminant nutrition from Kansas State University and a Ph.D. in ruminant nutrition from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.




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