Spices

Use of high-intensity sweeteners in ruminant feeding

Mercedes Gonzalez & Fernando Diaz

Flavorings are food additives that modify the taste or smell of food and increase its palatability. In ruminant feeding they are used with the aim of promoting voluntary intake without increasing caloric intake. At some particular times in the production cycle such as weaning, they are especially useful to stimulate animals to eat their ration and avoid weight losses or growth delays.

One type of flavoring is high-intensity sweeteners, which at low doses have an intense sweet taste. In general, they are obtained by chemical synthesis, although they can also have natural origin; examples include saccharine, aspartame or sodium cyclamate.

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Artificial hay aroma on dairy cow performance

Alvaro Garcia

Dairy production can be improved by increasing feed intake without negatively affecting animal health and well-being. This requires a thorough understanding of intake mechanisms and rumen health. In intensive production systems the right balance between fermentable (starch and sugars) and fibrous carbohydrates (effective fiber) is critical to maintain a healthy rumen. When this balance is altered not also rumen fermentation is modified, but also the motility of the pre-stomachs. This can result in higher incidence of acidosis and displaced abomasum, among other metabolic problems.

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Synthetic flavors, do they improve intake in dairy calves?

Synthetic flavors, do they improve intake in dairy calves?

Fernando Díaz

Synthetic flavors are additives used in the animal feed industry to enhance the smell and taste of feeds. The sense of taste in dairy cattle is well developed. They can recognize the five basic tastes of sweet, bitter, salty, sour, and umami. Therefore, identifying flavor preferences of dairy calves may help to stimulate and improve the consumption of calf starter.

Calf starter intake is essential in calf feeding programs. A meta-analysis carried out by Pennsylvania State University’s researchers reported that for each additional 100g/day of calf starter intake in the preweaning period, first-lactating cows produced 127.0 kg more milk, 8.4 kg more milk fat, and 4.0 kg more milk protein.

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