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The Brahma Connection

The Brahma Connection

Written By: John Doerr, Ph.D., PAS, Dpl. ACAP Vice President, Science & Technology

Dairies around the world generally seek breeds which produce specific traits in milk production and constituents. Holstein, Guernsey, Jersey, etc. are all very familiar breeds. But many other areas in the world also have to deal with extremes in environmental conditions that sometimes make use of those standard breeds difficult. One solution in areas of high temperatures is to cross breed with a heat tolerant species. A number of dairy farms in Thailand milk a Holstein-Brahma cross. They hold up to heat well but often are low yield producers. Recently Agrarian Solutions, through its distributor, Sinotrade, in Thailand, put our premier product, Nutrisound Dry Concentrate (NDC) to the test at that kind of farm.

The test protocol was simple. Assemble a group of 50 milking cows, collect a couple of weeks of preliminary performance data, and then feed NDC at the recommended level. Only basic data were collected. The graph shows that at the start, these cows were producing just 13 kg milk per cow per day (635.8 kg for the group of 49 cows). On August 28, NDC was introduced. On September 10, 13 days after the start, milk production had increased to 13.9 kg/cow/day. A month later, the herd was averaging 843 kg for 51 cows milking. That’s a 24% increase in just over 1 month!

At the same time, somatic cell count dropped nearly 8%. Somatic cell counts were measured in collected milk pre-trial and on September 10 and October 10. A typical response to NDC was seen in that early restoration of better health causes a shedding of cells (a spike) followed by a rapid decline. The dotted line represents the regression of the SCC values as we have them now.

Butter fat rose slightly, and Class I milk stability remained steady. Stability refers to oxidation potential (indirect measure of bacterial load) and is measured by a methylene blue test. The bottom line: milk of good quality at significantly higher production rate with a bit better fat content…all from a very short period of feeding NDC!

The data to-date show remarkable improvement in performance in this breed of dairy cow and we’re confident that the final data, due in early December, will reflect continued improvement trends. Other dairy trials are also underway but it is too early to have any results. Look for more details in the next issue of RISE International in 2023!