Performance and digestive efficiency of dairy cows supplemented with live yeast strain KA500 were evaluated. Twenty Holstein cows formed ten blocks of two animals based on daily milk production and were randomly assigned to a sequence of two treatments, in a cross-over design, with 28-day periods, and measurements on the fourth week. Treatments were: 10g of yeast (2x10(10)/cfu/g) or control. The composition of the diets were (% of DM): corn silage (45.0), tifton hay (4.1), and a corn, citrus pulp, soybean meal-based concentrate (50.9). The dry matter intake was 21.3kg with yeast and 21.8kg for the control (P=0.01), and milk yield was 29.6 and 29.3kg, respectively (P=0.45). Milk yield per unit of intake was 1.37 with yeast and 1.32 for the control (P=0.05). The supplementation of yeast reduced (P=0.02) the somatic cell count in milk. There was no effect of the supplementation upon variables related to the rumen function or the total tract digestibility of nutrients. Yeast supplementation increased feed efficiency and reduced milk somatic cell count.
dairy cow; milk somatic cells; digestibility; feed efficiency; yeast