1984 - Volume #8, Issue #4, Page #23[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Feed Additive Boosts Milk Production 10%A new feed additive that reportedly boosts milk production 10% "will revolutionize the dairy industry" when it's introduced to dairy farmers in the next year or so, according to its developer, Dr. Robert Cook, an animal scientist at Michigan State University.
Dr. Cook began working on the new additive, called Isoacids, in 1962 when he first got out of college. He says he knew the additive would work almost from the beginning but the process for bringing chemical feed additives onto the market is long and tedious. In 1972 he began working with the chemical division of Eastman Kodak Co. and, now, after 12 years, the company plans to begin test marketing the additive on 64 farms starting this fall. If all goes well, it should be on the market on a widespread basis by the fall of 1985, says Dr. Cook.
Eastman Kodak manufactures isoacids from natural gas. They consist of a combination of four chemicals that are found naturally in virtually every body cell of every mammal which is why the FDA was able to approve it. Isoacids speed up the growth of bacteria in the rumen, which causes the rumen to produce more acetic acid during digestion. Acetic acid is one of the fatty acids formed in the rumen to produce milk; therefore, a boost in the amount of acid increases the amount of milk produced, even when the animal is fed less.
"We did our first trials with the FDA in 1978 and started limited field tests in 1982. The increase in milk production has always been a steady 8 to 10%," Cook notes, adding that, for the average dairyman, it could mean an additional $300 profit per year per cow, adding $3.5 billion a year to the dairy industry ù without increasing the number of cows.
"Major chemical companies are deeply interested in stimulants like isoacids and several are setting up divisions to develop chemical stimulants. There has been a lot of interest in growth hormones for dairy cattle but they won't be on the market for a number of years and they're much more expensive to manufacture than isoacids, which can be made relatively cheaply and in large quantities from natural gas," says Dr. Cook, who told FARM SHOW that he never patented isoacids so he will not profit from them.
Cost has not been determined yet for the new additive but Dr. Cook speculates that isoacids will return "2¢ to 5 times its cost" back to the dairy farmer in increased milk production.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Dr. Robert Cook, Dept. of Animal Science, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Mich. 48824 (ph 517 353-5254).
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