PRIORITY IAC: LISTENING TO THE COWS, For Healthy Cows®
Published on Tue, 11/17/2015 - 4:02pm
Having been a producer and now leading a company focused on dairy cow health; Richard Breunig knows the struggle is real when your cows aren’t thriving.
Richard saw this happen firsthand when managing Clover Mist Farms. Back in 1986, the herd was delivered a protein mix with 900 pounds of a trace mineral packed in 5 tons of feed, instead of the correct ratio of 5 pounds/ton. The severe mineral toxicity decimated the herd. Richard lost half the milking herd, and perhaps would have lost more. The turning point of this disaster came when their foundation cow, D-R-A August (above), got sick.
“There were no solutions,” recalls Richard. “Every vet I called, every nutritionist I asked, every consultant stated there was nothing they could do, they couldn’t help. I couldn’t accept the fact there wasn’t any solution. Just giving up wasn’t the answer I wanted to hear. I stopped limiting myself and my farm to what everyone else thought they knew. It’s impossible to be successful if you have a team member involved in your business that isn’t vested in your success.”
Richard was able to find a solution and saved August. With this experience as his foundation, Richard built Priority IAC, Inc., to empower producers and to give them the knowledge they need to know from his experience.
Priority IAC, Inc., was conceived in 1999, shortly after the dispersal of the legendary animal breeding Clover Mist Farms. The farm, under Richard’s guidance, had produced several national production records, was the first dairy to receive the Export Achievement Award for excellence in foreign marketing, and one of the first to send frozen embryos internationally. Additionally the farm developed the family of D-R-A August, Clover Mist Augy Star, and Clover Mist Aleshia — the heritage behind the famous KHW Kite Advent-Red-ET bull, who was premier sire the last 7 years of the World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wisconsin. These outcomes would have never been without Richard’s perseverance.
“The farm was a real teacher for me laying down the practical knowledge of breeding, calving, nutrition, and the multitude of aspects the dairy farm provides and the farmer needs to be able to direct,” shares Richard. “I have challenged myself to deliver back to other producers the practical knowledge I learned from the dairy, microbiology, and as a nutritionist.”
Today the knowledge this experience with August instilled serves as the driving focus for the company. In fact, August adorns the wall at the entry of the office as a figurehead and driving factor to help cows and producers everywhere.
Richard has traveled across the country and abroad, speaking at producer meetings and nutrition conferences, bringing forth his new concept in nutrition in simple understandable terms. Priority IAC is believed to be the only company that has meshed the two field’s together, taking microbiology and nutrition to form the P-One Program™, in the best interest of the animals and producers.
The P-One Progam™ — microbiology & nutrition made simple
“Life is in the balance of pH. Whether it’s the soil, us as humans or animals, the bacteria — where life begins to strive for an optimal, consistent pH balance. The more perfect balance, the better every organ functions,” shares Richard.
This concept is especially true as the cow’s rumen has stayed the same; what is put into the rumen has changed significantly, thus maintaining pH stability is nearly impossible to achieve. Richard sees this on dairies as they experience variable manure syndrome, or VMS. This constant shift in manure consistency is in direct correlation in the continual volatility of rumen pH. These dramatic swings in pH can also contribute to poor breeding and foot health, digestive upsets, and just plain poor overall health.
“Cows don’t live very long today, in comparison to recent history, and it’s much more difficult to care for them,” states Richard “These health challenges correlate to how much faster the feeds today break down in the rumen. There is a much higher percent of what is fed today being digested, and it’s being digested much quicker. This combination is deadly to rumen stability.”
Priority has developed nutrition around the facts of rumen function, how the rumen was meant to be fed, and away from expensive high fat and protein diets.
“This new nutrition concept is much cheaper to feed and healthier for the cow,” states Richard. “There are principles to nutrition that seem to have been lost, due to the inability to manage rumen pH or acidosis. Acidosis is a word that is blamed for every ill issue on the dairy today, and rightfully so. If acidosis is a constant issue or concern, the principles of nutrition are lost and replaced with guessing.”
Priority IAC does nutrition with a foundation on microbiology. This makes perfect sense, as the rumen is simply a fermenter growing bacteria driven by energy fed carbohydrates. This promotes a constant growth and death of bacteria happening in the rumen. The goal is to multiply as many bacteria as one can, this done successfully only under a constantly managed rumen pH. When the bacteria conclude their life cycle and die, they are producing microbial protein — actual energy and protein in perfect amino acid balance, protein that producers don’t have to purchase.
There are literally millions upon millions of bacteria in the world today all with their own specific DNA or genetic makeup. Priority IAC has identified these as Smart bacteria that know their role in fermentation. The first step in nutrition is to keep the rumen stable with the use of microbiology. This is through the Smart bacteria discovered and available only in the Priority IAC products P-One™ and DCP™, which form the P-One Program™. Research data shows that when using rapidly fermentable carbohydrates (RFC) the P-One Program™ held a normal rumen pH.
With this confidence, a producer can push for early maturity, higher moisture feeds (soluble fiber) and home grown corn, which naturally have a large growth factor for an abundance of rumen bacteria. The third step is to feed just enough protein to support the growth of bacteria in unison with maximizing carbohydrates. The level of protein needed is easily defined from MUN levels taken from daily milk tank data. MUN’s are the measure of unused nitrogen (protein) fed to the cow. Anything above zero is considered wasted. The milk tank measurement is an average of all cows thus, Priority IAC recommends MUN’s in the 7-9 range.
“With these three simple principles one can easily manage their dairy and know what they need to purchase,” reasons Richard. “Many producers are being told to make forages and HMC (high moisture corn) dryer to reduce the risk of acidosis. However, the dryer the feed the less available to the rumen bacteria; thus, producers need to purchase additional feeds to supplement lower digestibility of these dryer feeds.”
Because the rumen was designed for wet feeds, similar to when grazing; Richard feels it is critical to harvest forages and high moisture corn (HMC) at the proper moisture.
“The wetter the feed, the faster and more fermented. If fermentation is done correctly, there is nothing wrong with fast fermentation. More correctly fermented, means more milk with health,” states Richard.
Priority IAC provides education on how each branded strain of Smart bacteria works, how the best home-grown forages can be used, and how producers can monitor their cows performance to know what adjustments to make.
Priority IAC, has spent the last 20 years tapping into and expanding the impact of microbiology in dairy cattle nutrition. They have diligently selected from millions and millions of bacteria, identifying the best of the best naturally occurring bacteria strains, much like genomics in animal breeding. They then evaluate them on their strength and performance not only from lab testing, but also in the real life setting to see how they perform when fed back to animals. Only the most effective, highly focused, and beneficial bacteria that deliver on-farm results make the cut to be Priority IAC’s Smart bacteria. These unique strains have very specific functions within the rumen and lower digestive tract that deliver positive impacts not only in the lab, but have proven themselves again and again in on-farm trials.
Here’s an example Richard shared, which helps to explain the uniqueness of their Smart bacteria. There are seven major breeds (species) of dairy cattle varying in number from tens of thousands to millions of cows of each breed. By comparison there are numerous species of bacteria, with scientific estimates at more than a billion. There are millions and millions of strains of each of the different species that form the estimated bacteria population on the Earth at five million trillion trillion, or 5x1030. Just as there are notable differences between individual cows, the same is true between this unimaginable number of bacteria strains. The cows in the different breeds are usually identified by a name or number to indicate their individuality, the same is true for Priority IAC’s Smart bacteria.
“Identifying the effectiveness and results of these specific strain numbers, we then brand those numbers to verify the individuals we’ve selected are delivered,” shares Richard. “Our Priority IAC products list the genius species of each bacteria on our labels. However, we go one step further and list each branded strain number so producers know exactly what they are purchasing. This may seem trivial, but the keys to success are in the details. We know there is a big difference in the results, we want to make sure our customers are getting the best.”
Priority IAC products contain billions of Smart bacteria. In fact, a daily serving of a Priority IAC product actually contains more branded strains of Smart bacteria than all of the cows on the Earth.The P-One Program™ is a truly remarkable product — For Healthy Cows.®