Cross Country Feeding Success

Tony Hall, Bsc, Ms, MSB, PAS Ruminant Lallemand Animal Nutrition

Tony Hall
Tony Hall, Bsc, Ms, MSB, PAS Ruminant Lallemand Animal Nutrition

Separated by 3,000 miles, two dairies with different herd health challenges each found success incorporating an active dry yeast probiotic – Saccharomyces cerevisiae CNCM I-1077 — into their diets.

Ensuring rumen function is optimized is a top priority to guarantee that cattle are getting the most out of their ration, along with avoiding nutritional issues. Implementing the active dry yeast probiotic S. cerevisiae CNCM I-1077, can help improve rumen function, manage rumen pH and increase fiber digestion.1,2,3

West Coast

Carl L. Ott & Sons is a third-generation dairy farm that is home to 410 Holstein cows and located in Modesto, Calif. The family has a strong, consistent and successful feeding program. Over the years, the dairy achieved a high level of milk production, averaging 26,684 lbs. rolling herd average, along with overall good herd health. Given their successful history, the family didn’t want to make too many changes their ration.

“We don’t like making feed changes, because cows don’t like feed changes,” Tony Ott says. “Up to this point, it’s been years since we’ve made adjustments to our feeding program.”

When the 2015 began, the Otts noticed their silage cover had been damaged. After discarding the visibly spoiled silage, they wanted to ensure a high-quality ration and began researching feed additive options.

In August, they decided the best approach to making sure their cows maintained consistent performance was to add the active dry yeast probiotic Levucell SC, which includes S. cerevisiae CNCM I-1077, into their ration.

  1. cerevisiae CNCM I-1077 is a naturally occurring, rumen specific active dry yeast probiotic that has been to selected to optimize rumen function. This specific strain has received a functionality claim from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to “aid in maintaining cellulolytic bacteria population in the rumen of animals fed greater than 50% concentrate.”4

“Initially, we didn’t notice any immediate visible difference in our herd,” Ott says. “However, reviewing my fat tests over time, the cows performed better and didn’t have the seasonal production swings that we saw in the past.”

To make a more definitive comparison, Ott pulled his records from previous years and saw his herd was testing around 3.67% butterfat, whereas after implementing S. cerevisiae CNCM I-1077 he found his herd tests were consistently running two points higher at 3.9-3.95 %.

Ott’s experience is consistent with research on the probiotic. In a study conducted by the FARME Institute, Inc., the addition of S. cerevisiae CNCM I-1077 in a lactating cow diet resulted in 0.15% greater fat percentage when compared to controls. Overall, the study showed that cows fed S. cerevisiae CNCM I-1077 produced more milk with higher component yield than the control cows.5

“This addition to our ration has really helped our butterfat tests, even with less than ideal forages, the product performed,” says Ott. “We continue to use Levucell SC today. If it’s not broke, we don’t fix it.”

East Coast

Across the country in Rochelle, Va., the Cedar Springs Dairy found their cattle struggling with rumen performance and digestive health issues. Cedar Springs is a 550-cow milking herd run by John and Earl Lamb and their sons.

In Virginia, dairy farmers often combat high summer temperatures, which can upset cows’ rumen function and cause lower production and other secondary losses. In addition, the Cedar Springs Dairy was battling hemorrhagic bowel syndrome (HBS). One of the risk factors for HBS is including large amounts of fermentable carbohydrates in the ration.

“Our herd was staying consistent in their dry matter intake (DMI) and butterfat percentages,” John Lamb says. “Yet, our cows were still struggling with a few different types of digestive issues.”

In order to address the herd heath issues from a nutritional front, Lamb began working with his nutritionist to make adjustments and improvements. The first step was to adjust the cattle’s ration, lowering the grain content and moving to a higher proportion of forages. Next, the Lambs began inoculating their forage with Biotal Buchneri 500, which is a combination of Pediococcus pentosaceus 12455 and Lactobacillus buchneri 40788. The addition of this combination silage inoculant helped control clostridia growth they were previously experiencing, which can have a negative impact on the rumen fermentation.

Lamb and his nutritionist also suspected the herd was suffering from Sub Acute Ruminal Acidosis (SARA). SARA is the time when the rumen pH is below 5.8, and it can reduce ruminal cellulolytic bacterial activity and fiber digestion.6 When SARA occurs, the rumen isn’t optimized and can’t make the best use of any feedstuff.

After trying several products with no results, Lamb and his nutritionist decided to try including an active dry yeast probiotic Levucell SC into the ration through their premix.

In a study conducted at the University of Minnesota, supplementing dairy cows with S. cerevisiae CNCM I-1077 increased the mean, minimum and maximum ruminal pH, which significantly decreased the time spent in SARA.7

Since the operation had strong DMI and butterfat tests, Lamb was curious to see the effect of the active dry yeast probiotic. After implementing S. cerevisiae CNCM I-1077 four years ago, Cedar Springs noticed fewer cows experiencing SARA and other digestive issues, allowing them to continue growing their strong herd.

“People said we wouldn’t be able to help the digestive challenges we were facing,” Lamb says, “But after implementing Levucell SC, we are confident that it helped optimize rumen function.”


1 Chaucheyras-Durand, F., et. al. Proc. of 2012 Cornell Nutrition Conference for Feed Manufacturers. 74:118-29.

2 Bach A., et. al., Anim. Feed Sci. Technol. 2007. 136:146-153.

3 Guedes C. M., et. al. Anim. Feed Sci. Technol. 2008. 145 :27-40.

4 The Center for Veterinary Medicine of the FDA has agreed to allow an important functionality claim for live yeast in applied ruminant feeding based on a research dossier submitted by Lallemand Animal Nutrition

5 FARME Institute, Inc. Comparison of Rations Containing Either No Probiotic or One of Two Probiotic Formulations. Homer, NY. Summer 2003.

6 Russell, J. B. and Wilson, D. B. 1996. Why are ruminal cellulolytic bacteria unable to digest cellulose at low pH? J. Dairy Sci. 79: 1503 – 1509.

7 Thrune M., Bach A., Ruiz-Moreno M., Stern M.D., Linn J.G. Effects of Saccharomyces cerevisiae on ruminal pH and microbial fermentation in dairy cows: Yeast supplementation on rumen fermentation. Livestock Science. 2009;124:261-265.