Effect of direct-fed microbials on performance, diet digestibility, and rumen characteristics of Holstein dairy cows

J Dairy Sci. 2007 Apr;90(4):1802-9. doi: 10.3168/jds.2006-643.


The objective of this study was to determine the effect of feeding direct-fed microbial (DFM) products containing Lactobacillus acidophilus and Propionibacteria freudenreichii on the performance, nutrient digestibility, and rumen fermentation of Holstein dairy cows in midlactation. Experiments were conducted from February to May 2003. Cows were fed 1 of 3 dietary treatments: 1) 1 x 10(9) colony-forming units (cfu)/d of live L. acidophilus strain LA747 and 2 x 10(9) cfu/d of live P. freudenreichii strain PF24 (DFM1); 2) 1 x 10(9) cfu/d of live L. acidophilus strain LA747, 2 x 10(9) cfu/d of live P. freudenreichii strain PF24, and 5 x 10(8) cfu/d of L. acidophilus strain LA45 (DFM2); or 3) lactose (control). Treatments were administered by mixing 45 g of finely ground corn with 5 g of DFM products or lactose and top dressing on the total mixed rations once daily. All cows received the same total mixed ration: 12.7% alfalfa hay, 46.2% corn silage, and 41.1% concentrate on a dry matter (DM) basis. In study 1 (lactation study), 39 multiparous and 18 primiparous Holstein cows were blocked by parity and randomly assigned to treatments for 84 d. Starting on d 35, fecal grab samples were collected from each cow at 5- to 8-h intervals over 48 h for digestibility measurements. A rumen fermentation study (study 2) was conducted concurrently with the lactation study. Three rumenfistulated, multiparous Holstein cows were randomly assigned to dietary treatments DFM1, DFM2, and control in a 3 x 3 Latin square design with 28-d periods. In study 1, there was no difference in average DM intake (23.9, 23.6, and 24.2 kg/d) or 4% fat-corrected milk (36.8, 35.3, and 36.2 kg/d) for treatments DFM1, DFM2, and control. Percentage or yield of milk components also did not differ among treatments. Feed efficiency averaged 1.52 kg of 4% fat-corrected milk/kg of DM intake and did not differ among treatments. There were no differences in apparent DM, crude protein, neutral detergent fiber, or starch digestibility among treatments. In study 2, there was no difference in rumen pH and concentrations of ammonia or total volatile fatty acids measured at 0, 1, 3, and 6 h after feeding. Under the conditions of these studies, supplementing midlactation cows with DFM products containing L. acidophilus and P. freudenreichii did not affect cow performance, diet digestibility, or rumen fermentation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animal Feed / analysis
  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Diet / veterinary
  • Digestion / physiology*
  • Eating / physiology
  • Female
  • Fermentation / physiology
  • Lactation / physiology*
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus / physiology*
  • Milk / chemistry
  • Milk / metabolism
  • Probiotics / administration & dosage*
  • Propionibacterium / physiology*
  • Random Allocation
  • Rumen / chemistry
  • Rumen / metabolism*
  • Rumen / microbiology