Fermentable Fiber Value


Priority provided insights on the confusion around NFC (Non Fiber Carbohydrates) and fiber, Confusion: NFC & Fiber - The take away is that fermentable fiber provides a tremendous energy source as it is a carbohydrate, just as the starch in corn is a carbohydrate. Carbohydrates are a great source of energy for the cow as they ferment in the rumen!

Unfortunately, the industry typically sees fiber as the lignin, the indigestible insoluble portion of the forage measured in ADF. It doesn’t realize the full impact of fermentable fiber, as this is a carbohydrate in the plant that can be fermented in the rumen and used by the cow for energy!  This is very odd as the industry will consider measurements like uNDFd 240h in their evaluation of feed value, which would take 10 days to break down, but refuses to assess the value of fermentable fiber. This is important as unique microbiology in the rumen can actually break fermentable fiber down for the cow to use!

Priority recognizes there is tremendous value to fermentable fiber. Efficiently converting carbohydrates to VFAs is the key to milk production and animal health. Fermentable fiber (or what the industry calls soluble fiber), is a component of good quality forages and also a carbohydrate. Here are Priority’s take aways on the value of fermentable fiber:
· More fermentable fiber exists in early maturity, prebud, and/or vegetative forages.
· The fermentable fiber, like starch, is a cause of acidosis if the right bacteria aren’t in the rumen to utilize the acid and to maintain pH. But with the right bacteria, it’s a very fermentable and therefore accessible energy source.
· Higher moisture forages means more will be fermented, this means more fermentable fiber, which in turn can provide higher butterfat.
· Lower moisture forages typically have less fermentable fiber, as the rumen doesn’t have the ability to rehydrate for use.
· High moisture corn silage may have less starch, but offers more fermentable fiber to make up the difference. Higher moisture corn silage ferments better, offering a higher quality forage for the year. This improves rumen fermentation, along with the best possible bunk fermentation – Quite the reward!

Fermentable fiber has the ability to yield tremendous benefits to the cow, which Priority harnesses using Microbiology Nutrition. Fermentable fiber is energy and brings energy and protein, grown from bacteria. These bacteria do their work using carbohydrates (fermentable fiber, starch, sugars, and silage acids) as their food, making usable energy (VFAs); when finished, they die (or lyse). They are protein for the cow, known as microbial protein and provided at no additional cost.

When the rumen pH is balanced, more microbial protein is made. The rumen can make an abundance of its own protein at a very rapid rate when fermentable fiber is provided.

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