• BreadCrumb

  • FARMER FAQS

    FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS FROM FARMERS

    What is Glycal Forte®?

    Glycal Forte® is a nutricine, which means that it increases the nutritional value of the diet via its beneficial effects on rumen function. It optimises rumen pH and increases rumen microbial biomass; it also supplies calcium and bypass glycerol to the cow. Glycal Forte® is an off-white powder, sold in pallets of 40 x 25kg bags.

    How much Glycal Forte® should I feed?

    The recommended feeding rate is 250g per cow per day.

    How should I feed Glycal Forte®?

    Glycal Forte® is best mixed with the dry feed prior to loading the mixer wagon, allowing a good dispersal throughout the ration. Although it is possible to add Glycal Forte® to the top of forages in the feeder wagon, we don’t recommend this because it may result in uneven distribution and intakes by cows.

    Can Glycal Forte® be included in a compound feed?

    Yes, tests have shown that Glycal Forte® retains its unique features when incorporated into a compound feed.

    How long should I feed Glycal Forte® for?

    Generally, the most cost-effective and beneficial way to feed Glycal Forte® is to feed it to close-up dry cows pre-calving, and then feed to freshly calved cows for about one month post-calving. However, some herds, for instance, those suffering from SARA or heat stress problems, would benefit from being fed Glycal Forte® for longer.

    Low rumen pH for about a month after calving is an inevitable result of cows moving from a dry cow to a milking cow ration. As a result, many cows will suffer from excessive negative energy balance (NEB) and increased loss of body condition. Feeding Glycal Forte® reduces this, creating a healthier herd. Discuss the benefits of feeding Glycal Forte® for longer with your vet. 

    What benefits could be seen from feeding Glycal Forte®?

    All cows are in negative energy balance (NEB) and lose body condition for a period after calving. By improving the energy balance, body condition loss reduces. This will help farmers to improve fertility and increase milk yield with healthier cows.  It also leads to fewer metabolic disorders (such as lameness, mastitis, metritis and displaced abomasum) and an improved immune response.

    What are the 4 features of Glycal Forte®?

    Glycal Forte® optimises rumen pH, increases the production of microbial biomass, provides bio-available calcium and supplies bypass glycerol, an energy source for the liver to make glucose. Taken together, these features form a Dynamic Metabolic Management System.

    Why is Glycal Forte® unique?

    Firstly, its dynamic rumen pH effect is different from other products. Glycal Forte® dissociates and releases acid-neutralising anions depending on rumen pH, i.e. on-demand. This means that it is effective over a wide range of rumen pH values and has a consistent effect 24 hours a day. It also means that it supplies glycerol to the rumen more slowly than glycerol drench, which explains the increase in microbial biomass. It is unique in having these rumen effects, as well as supplying bio-available calcium and bypass glycerol.

    Not only this, but our unique service offered with Glycal Forte® means that we build up an accurate picture of your cows’ needs and treat accordingly; the most efficient use of all resources.

    How does Glycal Forte® compare with buffers?

    With sodium bicarbonate being highly water-soluble, it passes quickly out of the rumen with very little effect. Calcium carbonate, as ground limestone, is largely insoluble in the rumen and therefore ineffective as a buffer. Laboratory tests have shown that the active pH-optimising component in Glycal Forte® corrects the low pH of acidic rumen fluid more effectively than sodium bicarbonate or calcium carbonate.

    What is all this fuss about low rumen pH, anyway? What are its effects?

    If the rumen pH is too low, it can affect transition cows’ energy balance in four ways. Firstly, it reduces feed intakes by up to 10%, potentially more than 2 kg in a typical dairy cow. Secondly, it reduces the ability of rumen microbes to digest food, in particular, the fibre/forage components; their digestibility can be reduced by up to 20%. Thirdly, rumen bacteria have to ‘spend’ energy to survive at low pH – this energy comes from the energy contained in the cow’s feed. Fourthly, when rumen pH is low, energy is also lost via an underlying increased inflammatory state.

    Therefore, improving rumen pH improves the cow’s energy balance.

    Why is a cow’s energy balance important?

    At a simple level, more energy equals more milk. Hence the energy in cow rations equates to M + however many litres of milk you want/expect her to give.

    However, energy balance in early lactation is vitally important. If a cow suffers from negative energy balance in the first 3 weeks after calving, she will be more likely to:

    1. suffer from metabolic disorders
    2. give less milk in the whole lactation
    3. take longer to get back in calf
    4. be more likely to be culled early

    All this comes at a cost to the health and welfare of the cow – and at a financial cost to the farmer.

    What about the calcium in Glycal Forte®?

    Although it is recommended to feed Glycal Forte® to both close-up dry and freshly calved cows, Glycal Forte® is NOT a way to control milk fever. However, low calcium levels, but not low enough to cause milk fever, (subclinical hypocalcaemia) are common, especially in older cows. The effects of this are similar to those of negative energy balance. There’s an increased financial cost to the farmer and welfare issue to that cow. The calcium in Glycal Forte® will help to reduce these risks.

    What about the glycerol in Glycal Forte®?

    Glycerol is an energy source. Glycerol from Glycal Forte®, which is released in the rumen, is used more efficiently than glycerol given as a drench when more of its energy is lost as gas (carbon dioxide and methane). However, if the glycerol is released in the abomasum, as rumen bypass glycerol, it is absorbed and used by the liver. The relative amounts of glycerol released in either the rumen or abomasum depend on rumen pH.

    How much does Glycal Forte® cost? What is the expected cost: benefit?

    At a feed rate of 250g per day, Glycal Forte® costs 60p per cow per day. If Glycal Forte® is fed for 6 weeks around calving, as recommended, the total cost is £25.20/cow.

    Research shows that the cost to the dairy farmer from excessive negative energy balance (NEB) or sub-clinical ketosis (SCK) ranges from £47 to £230 per every cow in the herd. Find out more.