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Optimizing Rumen Genetics: The Power of Native Rumen Microbes

Advancements in Dairy Technology

Dairy farmers understand the importance of a healthy and well-functioning rumen – you feed the rumen to feed the cow. This vital organ is the cornerstone of a cow's digestive system, responsible for breaking down feed and extracting essential nutrients for milk production. However, the complexity and potential of the rumen has not been understood until recently.

Genetic sequencing technologies have driven extraordinary advancements in cattle health and production. Some of the earliest technology, Sanger sequencing, was developed in the 1980s and was used to improve selective breeding practices. This same technology also aided in bringing recombinant BST to the market in 1993 and in cloning the first calf in 1998. Next-generation sequencing was introduced in 2006 and has since led to modern advancements in bovine genetics based on SNPs (single point mutations in the genome that confer traits) that can improve traits specific to dairy cattle.

In 2016, Native Microbials took the next step in dairy cow genetics – using next-generation sequencing to broadly map the dairy cow rumen microbiome, based on over 6,500 rumen fluid samples that the company collected over years. This work, along with the efforts of several academics, has provided the most complete picture of the ruminal micro-ecosystems that extract energy for cows of various breeds, on different diets, experiencing different health states, and across seasons and geographies.

Galaxis Frontier: The Next Technological Revolution

With this new knowledge, Native Microbials identified four microbial strains that are native to the dairy cow rumen and perform critical functions to support a cow’s energy needs while lactating.

· Clostridium beijerinckii: Converts sugars into acetate and butyrate to fuel energy

· Ruminococcus bovis: Breaks open resistant starches in the feed to access energy

· Pichia kudriavzevii: Synthesizes enzymes that catabolize fiber to create more accessible energy in the rumen

· Butyrivibrio fibrisolvens: Biohydrogenates linoleic acids found in forage into vaccenic acid, the major substrate for CLA in milk

These microbes are available in Galaxis Frontier, a novel rumen microbial genetics product. Academic and commercial trials have shown that daily feeding of this consortium of rumen microbes has dramatic benefits for cow health, productivity, and sustainability:

· Increase in milk yield of 4.58 lbs. averaged over 305-day lactation*

· Increase in ECM yield of 5.91 lbs. averaged over 305-day lactation*

· Increase in fat & protein yield (no change in % milk fat or % protein)

· Increase in FE (ECM/DMI) of 0.10 units averaged over 305-day lactation*

· Improved persistency over the course of full lactation

· Increase in colostrum yield by 2 to 5 lbs.†

· Improved livability (20% reduction in culls in cows >60 DIM)°

· Improved health during early lactation (23% reduction in health events including milk fever, lameness, ketosis, and metritis, and 29% reduction in early culls for cows <60 DIM)°

· Decrease in methane intensity (g CH4/lb. ECM produced) by 8-11% (10-20% reductions at last time points)**

The benefits of feeding Galaxis Frontier are being seen on many commercial farms. Cornell Kasbergen of Rancho Teresita Dairy in Tulare, CA said, “We’re a family operation that feeds about 70% Jersey and 30% Holstein. We’ve been feeding Galaxis Frontier to the whole herd for 8-months and our production is up 4 lbs. of ECM. We’re also seeing an improvement in feed efficiency, and our income-over-feed is up $0.34 per cow per day.”

And Louis Tristao of Tri-Star Dairy Farm in Tulare stated, “We did a 26-week trial with Galaxis Frontier, and it was excellent. We saw a 3.6 lb. increase in energy corrected milk, a 0.09 pound of butter fat increase, and a 0.09 increase in feed efficiency. We expect to see a 5-7 lb. increase in energy corrected milk throughout the whole lactation, since it was only a 26-week trial.”

If you are looking for an advanced technology to further optimize your herd genetics, visit

* Composite results from 5 academic studies (total 361 cows) testing Galaxis® Frontier on lactating dairy cows, assuming daily feeding for 40 weeks.

† Range of observations in 2 controlled studies (total 322 animals) that began feeding Galaxis® Frontier in the close-up.

° Composite of 7 controlled on-farm studies, representing >6,000 cows fed Galaxis® Frontier for at least 8 weeks

** Range of observations in 2 controlled studies based on GreenFeed systems from C-LockTM



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