Watch the Strata & rbST Comparison
The loss of rbST from markets across the country has left producers searching for ways to regain peak milk and total production they had experienced. The short list of tactics to fill the milk gap often includes 3x milking or 4x on fresh cows, greater focus on reproduction and higher quality forages. Renee Smith, Western Sales Manager of Virtus Nutrition, suggests that adding omega-3s should be on that short list to explore.
Smith recently introduced a comparison of Strata with Omega-3s and rbST after having several customers look to Strata to regain some of the lost milk from rbST. “I have spent the majority of my career promoting these two impactful, yet different products to help dairy producers with their herd performance and economics,” explained Smith. This comparison offers an option to those transitioning off rbST, shows the differences in impact on the lactation curve, milk response, reproduction, and economics.
Just as the impact is fairly rapid when rbST is removed from dairy cows, the same applies when it is given. Producers can often see milk response in just two to three days, which is very noticeable in the bulk tank. In contrast, the full impact of the Strata omega-3 milk response across the herd’s lactation takes time. For the full lactation effect, it takes about a year as cows start their lactation on Strata and then carry that impact over the rest of their lactation curve. Strata and rbST are implemented at different times during the lactation, with rbST starting at peak, whereas Strata with omega-3s are fed in the fresh pen, and out to 100 DIM when possible. Also with Strata, there are different feeding rates and milk responses, with 2.7 pounds of milk at the 1/10 lb. rate, 6.7 lb. at ¼ lb. and 10.8 pounds for the 4/10 lb. feeding rate.
How It Works
This prolonged and increased milk response with Strata is driven by a shift in the Omega-6 to Omega- 3 ratio. “Omega- 6s are heavily weighted in the cow’s diet, because they are in common feed ingredients like corn, corn silage, cottonseed, DDG, and soybean meal. Whereas Omega-3 ingredients are not as common and this leads to the imbalance,” added Smith. By adding Strata with Omega-3s, the immune system is more in balance and allows for energy to be redirected to milk and reproduction.
Also compared were the reproductive effects of rbST and Strata. The impact on reproduction from rbST is negligible, whereas omega-3s play an essential role in reproductive health. Peer-reviewed studies from the University of Florida and UC Davis show that this addition of omega-3s led to a 50% reduction of early aborts and a significant increase in early conception rates because of the energy gained from a balanced immune system.
Overall, Smith believes both technologies to be impactful and similar in economics, and where possible, the best decision would be to utilize both. “The economics are similar, but with Strata there is a cost savings since it is target fed to early lactation cows and rbST is administered for a longer period at a higher cost per cow,” stated Smith.
For those interested in comparing the two for their own personal results, Virtus Nutrition has provided a worksheet that can be completed to see how Strata compares to rbST. See below, for a video on this comparison and the link to download the worksheet.
What you will learn:
- Differences in impact on lactation curve
- Comparison of milk response and timing of response
- Differences in reproductive effects
- Mode of action comparison
- Economics… what’s the bottom line difference
While on-farm results may vary, results presented are from controlled research studies that can be found at VirtusNutrition.com. Consult your nutritionist for specific feeding recommendations. All logos and trademarks are property of Virtus Nutrition, LLC.