Using the farmBolus to monitor rumen pH and temperature levels is an excellent way to manage forage feeding. By measuring pH levels, conditions within the rumen can be monitored and changes can be made to the diet of your herd accordingly. FarmBolus tells you what the effect of a change in forage has been which can help to achieve an optimum milk yield, improve forage to concentrate ratios and increase economic efficiency from your dairy cows.

green field cows

Comparing events on a particular day with the pH response has increased understanding of dairy cattle nutrition. This can be even more effective when combined with comparisons of yields and changes to different feeds on certain days. The response from the ten farms involved in the farmBolus trials, sponsored by Three Counties Feeds (http://www.threecountiesfeeds.co.uk/ ) has been very positive, supporting the idea that management and changes in forage affect pH as much as changing the concentrate feed or its type.

Here we see the general pH rise as a result of wet weather and lower intakes from poorer quality grazing in a 5 acre meadow. The cows coped with going to that field for the first grazing but then ate less on their next visits. The result was a 2.5l fall in milk yield. While this should have been obvious on the farm, the data provides a neat summary of cow intake – not enough dips in the pH level shows there is not enough feed intake. It is not just low rumen pH that is of note!

Forage changes 5 acre field

These results show the benefits of being able to detect forage quality by monitoring rumen pH levels, which could be a major breakthrough for graziers worldwide. The findings from these trials continue to demonstrate the advantages of using a farmBolus to monitor pH levels to improve management of dairy cow health.