• ZISK

Season of Mud

Ted Boyle, Account Manager

We have officially entered spring and, for many parts of the country, a season I refer to as “mud season”. Thawing temperatures and regular rains make for some sloppy conditions in commodity storage and feed mixing areas, especially if the days stay cloudy and cool. Many producers will just “deal with it” and move on to, hopefully, warmer and drier weather. But what does all this excess mud and manure do when it ultimately gets fed to cows? My colleague, Ray McLaughlin, did a great job last month outlining what excess ash content can do to your forages. We know that it adds a lot of Clostridium bacteria to your silages, which provides a greater opportunity for butyric acid production during fermentation. The soil and manure that is tracked through your commodity storage and feed mixing areas won’t cause butyric acid production, but it could cause hygiene issues in your TMR. Bacteria are the most abundant microorganisms in soil, with a population of 1010–1011 individuals and 6,000–50,000 species per gram of soil. Think about how much contamination is brought into your feed mixing area, unintentionally mixed into the TMR, fed to the cows and also pushed up throughout the day. Now let’s add manure into the mix as well. Cows can shed pathogens like Salmonella, E. coli, Clostridum, etc., in tens of thousands of colony forming units per gram of feces. With all this potential for contamination, it is amazing that we don’t have more adverse health events than we do. So, what can we do to help offset this onslaught of potentially problematic bacteria?

  • First, try to maintain clean commodity storage and feed mixing areas. Avoid scooping dirt, mud and manure into the TMR.

  • Second, gravel can be your friend; use it to keep your equipment high and dry by filling in low spots where water and mud can collect on the route from the commodity area to the barns for feed delivery.

  • Finally, feed the science-based, research-proven probiotic to your cows in order to maintain a healthy gastro-intestinal tract.


BOVAMINE® Dairy Plus combines the science-based, research-proven BOVAMINE® strains, Lactobacillus animalis and Propionibacterium freudenreichii, with two highly researched Bacilli, Bacillus licheniformis and Bacillus subtilis, that are new to the dairy cow sector. The specific probiotic bacteria in BOVAMINE® Dairy Plus are four of the most extensively researched strains of probiotics for animals, with over 700 research trials conducted and more than 165 abstracts and peer-reviewed articles published during the last 25 years. The impact of BOVAMINE® Dairy Plus was tested in the field using observations made on approximately 110,000 dairy cows (Jersey and Holstein) from 14 commercial dairies in three states. Data were collected from one week before, and through 90 days during, the daily-feeding of BOVAMINE® Dairy Plus. During the trial, the concentration of Clostridium perfringens increased in the TMR nearly 7-fold, from 11.7 to 80.8 cfu/gram of feed (dry-matter basis). In contrast, the concentration of C. perfringens being shed in the manure of cows being fed daily with BOVAMINE® Dairy Plus decreased from 2,827 to 1,646 cfu/g of manure (dry matter basis).