Animal performance benefits

Animal benefits

Silage analysis is not a reliable indicator of animal performance as there are many other factors involved that are not determined. The only way to prove an additive can improve animal performance is do full scale feeding experiments and that is where Ecosyl stands head and shoulders above most other silage additives as there are now 33 independent animal trials behind it.

Dairy trials

There have been 16 independent dairy trials worldwide on grass, alfalfa and corn silage across a wide range of dry matters (15-44%). The average milk response is 2.5 lb/cow/day, while the 6 trials conducted in the United States have shown a milk response of 3.2 lb per cow per day. (graph 1)

Graph 1: Milk yield response of 16 Dairy Cow trials conducted with Ecosyl

Livestock benefits - milk yeild chart

There were no significant differences in milk fat, protein or lactose concentrations but because of the increased milk yield, there was a significant higher outputs of all three of these milk components.

Cows fed Ecosyl treated silage also showed a significantly higher bodyweight gain compared to those fed untreated silages. This helped them to regain condition lost during the earlier stages of lactation more quickly.

In all except two of these trials there were only small differences in the fermentation analysis. In general, both treated and untreated silages had undergone good fermentations and any differences were of no nutritional significance. It is obvious that the positive benefits on milk production seen with Ecosyl are the result of something more than simply improved fermentation.

Beef trials

There have been a total of 19 beef trials with Ecosyl. Five of these were with growing cattle that were fed grass silage treated with Ecosyl. The results showed, on average, a significant 15.2% improvement in daily liveweight gain and non-significant improvements in both silage DM intake and feed to gain ratio (Table 1).

A further five growing beef trials have been carried out with corn silage and alfalfa silages, again showing significant improvements in liveweight gain (Table 1).

Table 1. Growing cattle trial results

Crop No. of trials Silage DM Intake (kg/d) Liveweight Gain (kg/d) Feed :Gain
Untreated Ecosyl Untreated
Grass 5 +5.5% +15.2%* -11.3%
Corn silage/alfalfa 5 +8.4% +8.8%* +0.3%

* statistically significant difference

 Table 2. Finishing cattle trial results

Crop No. of trials Silage DM Intake (kg/d) Carcass Gain (kg/d) Feed:Gain
Untreated Ecosyl Untreated
Grass 9 +3.7% +9.1%* -6.6%

*statistically significant difference

In nine trials where fattening cattle were fed grass silage, Ecosyl treatment led to a significant 9.1% improvement in daily carcass gain. There were also trends towards higher DM intake and feed to gain ratio, but these weren’t significant.

In 13 of the 19 trials, Ecosyl improved DM intake. In 8 of the 14 grass trials, in vivo digestibility was determined on the silage, Ecosyl increasing it by 3.8 units on average.

Beef/corn silage – Ecosyl vs other inoculants

Dr. Keith Bolsen (Kansas State University) compared the data from his trials with Ecosyl with the results from all his beef/corn silage  trials over a 10 year period. There were 12 trials in which a total of 11 different inoculants were tested. He found the improvement with Ecosyl was more than twice the average of all of the inoculants (Figure 2). If the Ecosyl results had been excluded from the results for all inoculants, the difference would have been even greater.

Figure 2. % change resulting from treatment

Improvements resulting from treatment

Putting these numbers into pounds of beef produced per ton of corn silage harvested, feeding corn silage treated with Ecosyl resulted in 7.7 lb more beef. Ex: For every 1000 ton of corn silage harvested, there would be 7,700 lb more beef produced. At a market price of $1.45, an additional $11,165 of revenue could be realized.