Soyzin, a GMO-free protected (bypass) protein product of Bonafarm-Bábolna Feed Ltd. has been on the market for five years. On that occasion, we conducted an all-round inquiry among our partners and customers, asking them to give their opinion about the product and share with us their experience gained with its use.
Nowadays numerous protected protein sources are available on the market, and thus it is not easy to select the best product, especially if we consider that in Hungary a substantial proportion of the nearly 50,000 tons of protected protein sources used annually comes from imported genetically modified soybean, despite the fact that the increase of the demand for GMO-free foods underlines the need for GMO-free feeds.
Soyzin is derived from GMO-free Hungarian soybean. Thanks to the gentle manufacturing technology developed by our company the product has 70% UDP ratio (related to crude protein) and excellent crude protein digestibility. It is important to mention that, on the basis of our test results a substantial proportion of the unsaturated fatty acids contained by Soyzin passes through the rumen without causing such negative effects associated with the feeding of unsaturated fatty acids as e.g. milk fat depression. Thanks to this, besides the favourable physiological effects of the different unsaturated fatty acids (improved body condition, stronger immune system, better reproductive results), the feeding of Soyzin makes it possible to reduce the inclusion rate of protected fats added to the ration.
Overall, five users from different geographic locations representing the whole area of Hungary will share with the readers their practical experience gained with the use of Soyzin. The technical managers of these farms were asked the following questions:
1. Where did you hear about Soyzin and based on what information did you decide on introducing the feeding of this product on your farm?
2. Please describe briefly the characteristics of feeding on your farm (forages, other feed ingredients, feeding technology).
3. What were the main criteria and objectives that you wanted to achieve by feeding this product?
4. Did the product meet your expectations?
5. Are you satisfied with your current production figures, compared to those of the previous period?
On behalf of the Agricultural Corporation of Nemesszalók, Chief Zootechnician Zoltán Baki and Animal Nutrition Manager László Tóth answered our questions. Jenő Nyúl, the Dairy Division Manager of Cankó 2000 Ltd. from Bogyoszló, also represented the western part of Hungary. The Agricultural Corporation of Bicske is one of the companies which use precisely this protein source in their feeding strategy, and with which the foundations of our one-year relationship were laid by the use of this product. Áron Simon, the head of the dairy division shared his experience with us. From the eastern part of Hungary, Antal Fürj, the Animal Breeding Director of the Agricultural Corporation of Gyula helped us with his comments. Last, but not least a lady comes next in our list of interviewees: Anita Gyürki, Division Manager of AGRÁR-KER Ltd. from Csanádpalota also answered our questions.
Question no. 1 regarding how the product ‘came into the picture’ generated the following responses.
Z. B.: In the field of nutrition, we started our closer co-operation with Bonafarm Bábolna Feed Ltd. (BBF) in 2015. At that time, the feed formulas still contained a separate protected protein source and a protected fat. Our BBF consultant, Róbert Halász first mentioned their newly developed product, Soyzin, which is a fullfat soybean based protected protein and fat source. In the autumn, for the first half of lactation he prepared a recommendation in which the previously mentioned two types of protected product were replaced by Soyzin.
J. Ny.: It was in May 2018 that I took over the direction of the dairy division of Cankó 2000 Ltd. The feeding consultant is an external specialist, who had been using Soyzin manufactured by BBF for several years, and he recommended that product to us.
Á. S.: I first heard about the product from the special consultant of another nutrition company. I had to meet the increased protein and energy demand of the animals in a single step. I tried to find a product which would be suitable for supporting both of these demands. Considering the circumstances, the protein/energy balance of the herd was very good, thanks to the forages of excellent quality. The energy and protein supplied by Soyzin was needed to enable the animals to increase their milk production.
A. F.: We have been in contact with Bonafarm-Bábolna Feed Ltd. since the beginning of the 2000s. In our everyday work we often try out the newly developed products of this nutrition company, and we frequently take part in testing their new products in field trials. We first received a recommendation to feed Soyzin in October 2015.
A. Gy.: The BBF consultant visiting our company, Dávid Éliás spoke to us first about their new product. For us it was important that this was a GMO-free Hungarian product and that its use could save us costs as compared to the previously used solutions.
From our partners’ responses we can see that Soyzin is already known well enough to ensure that not only our own experts take part in its introduction but it is used also by other systems and strongly recommended by independent consultants as well.
Question no. 2 addressed the feeding background of the farms, in order to demonstrate how flexibly Soyzin can be used in diverse situations.
Z. B.: Our forage base consists of corn silage, alfalfa haylage, Italian ryegrass haylage, as well as meadow and alfalfa hay. Of the by-products, we are using molasses, glycerol and brewer’s grain. Our total mixed rations (TMR) include own-produced corn and other grains, together with purchased protein sources (extracted sunflower, extracted rapeseed, extracted soybean and Soyzin). In our milk-producing herd we have four feeding groups: fresh cow group, high-milk group, medium milk group, and pre-drying off group. Feed is delivered by a self-propelled 18-m3 Faresin feed mixer wagon twice a day.
J. Ny.: On the dairy farm of Cankó 2000 Ltd. the forage base is constituted by corn silage, alfalfa haylage and grass haylage grown on natural grasslands. Of the by-products, we use only molasses. Our total mixed rations include own-produced corn and other grains as well as purchased protein feeds (extracted soybean, extracted sunflower and Soyzin). In our milk-producing herd we have four feeding groups: fresh cow group, high-milk group, medium milk group, and pre-drying off group. Feed is delivered by a trailed Faresin mixer wagon once a day.
Á. S.: On our farm we are operating a 27-m3, self-propelled Sitrex feed mixer wagon. This wagon delivers feed to all the cattle on the farm. Our feeds harvested in 2018 were of good quality. We have corn for silage with 37% dry matter and 40% starch content, while our alfalfa haylage has 38% dry matter and 22% protein content. The fresh cow group and the primiparous, high-yielding cows receive the same feed formula which is delivered at one go. The dry matter intake capacity of multiparous cows is increasing continuously and is at 26.5–27 kg at present. I keep checking this every day. In addition to these groups, we also have a primiparous and a multiparous medium-lactation group, as well as a low-milk group. Naturally, these groups are not given Soyzin. In the dairy ration we use a complete premix containing yeast, urea, buffer and all the necessary micro- and macroelements as well as vitamins. In addition to these, we are feeding corn, extracted sunflower and Soyzin. Besides sunflower, we plan to use rapeseed meal as a protein source, and we would like to expand the ration with cereals as well.
A. F.: Currently we have nearly 800 cows. Their feeding is based mainly on corn silage and alfalfa haylage. In addition to these, occasionally we use other feed raw materials including Sudan grass, festulolium haylage and other different haylage mixtures. In recent years, by-products (wet CGF, molasses) have also been added to the ration of cows. The milk-producing cows are divided into conventional, fresh cow, high-milk, medium-milk and low-milk groups.
A. Gy. In recent years, we have attributed great importance to the production and quality of forages. With the haylages made by us (Italian ryegrass, rye and alfalfa) we won one of the ‘Forage of the Year’ prizes established by the Livestock Performance Testing Ltd. on several occasions. Besides the continuously improving farm and technological conditions, the quality of forages is the most important factor contributing to the increasing performance.
The responses received clearly show that even farms using different technologies and feeds can easily integrate Soyzin into their rations fed.
Question no. 3 addressed the tasks to be solved and the objectives set by the respondents.
Z. B.: With the introduction of Soyzin our expectation was to decrease the costs per feeding day while maintaining the high production level and good health status of the herd. Thus, in November 2016 we started with so-called transitional doses, and the from the middle of December 2016 Soyzin completely replaced the protected (bypass) protein and fat included in the feed formulas.
J. Ny.: At the time when I took over this job, our herd had an acceptable production level. My goal was to base our progress on systematic work ensuring small steps forward. I did not intend to make big changes in the field of nutrition. We kept Soyzin in the formula, which decision was proven right by the subsequent results, and we are feeding it also at present. My objective is to have a better start of lactation and a higher milk production level at the peak of lactation.
Á. S.: The objective was twofold: primarily to increase milk production and secondly to improve the nutrient supply of the herd, in order to help improve the reproductive parameters and the body condition of cows in the herd.
A. F.: In our case the simplification of the feed formula was one of the main considerations, but it was even more important that our the proposal of our consultant resulted in the reduction of costs. Within a short time the entire herd was switched over to the new formula, everything went without a hitch, and the production level increased.
A. Gy.: Some years ago our Company implemented major investments into the improvement of our barns and milking parlours. The objectives set in 2015 had a major focus on the elevation of yields, the reduction of costs and the realization of milk production with GMO-free nutrition. Our consultant outlined four options on the basis of the costs and the possibility of GMO-free feeding. We chose the ration with the lowest cost, in which the addition of Soyzin was the most important change.
From the answers received to our questions we can see that the farms set before themselves diverse objectives, among which the increase of production, the reduction of costs, the implementation of GMO-free feeding and the improvement of the reproductive and health status of the herds were the most important. Our partners successfully achieved these objectives.
With our question no. 4 we wanted to find out whether our partners were satisfied with the use of our product.
Z. B.: Our expectations were met. The cost per feeding day of the different production groups decreased already in the so-called transitional period (by 0.3–3.4%), and an even greater cost reduction (4–4.3%) was achieved with the final formulas as compared to the baseline, while the specific yields of the herds improved.
J. Ny.: My expectations were met, although some minor changes were made in nutrition and also in the technology. After almost one year I can say that the start of lactation showed a positive change in the case of both the primiparous and the multiparous cows.
Á. S.: We could achieve both of our objectives. In addition to the high production level the body condition of cows spectacularly improved and we also succeeded in improving the reproductive performance of the herd.
A. F.: Our results have been improving since 2016, and this improvement meant an increase of our specific production level at that time. In addition to the increase in milk quantity, the composition of the milk also showed a positive change, as in the first months of 2017 the milk fat content of the milk produced was about 0.4% higher than two years earlier, at the time when we started to feed Soyzin.
A. Gy.: With the use of Soyzin we could achieve all our objectives: we have been feeding our herd with GMO-free feeds ever since. We could substantially increase our milk production level, thus utilizing the potential provided by the modernization of our farm buildings and milking parlour. According to the milk recording data of the Livestock Performance Testing Ltd., the milking average of our herd was between 35.0 and 40.0 kg throughout the year 2018. I think that the feeding cost is a very important factor with regard to profitability, which needs to be addressed also in periods characterized by relatively better milk purchase prices.
The interviewed Soyzin users unanimously stated that with the use of this product they could achieve their objectives and they have had very successful years with their herds. We hope that we will be able to contribute to their continuing success based on the use of Soyzin in the future.
With our final question we wanted to find out how satisfied our partners were with their current production level.
Z. B.: From the perspective of the past 2.5 years we can say that we are satisfied with the product and with the special consultancy related to it. Apart from a few slight fluctuations, the feeding of the rumen is balanced and, owing to that, the milk production meets our expectations. Furthermore, we could even sell 308 pregnant heifers in this past period.
J. Ny.: I am more satisfied with the start of lactation than I used to be. As compared to the first quarter of 2018, in the first quarter of the current year our cows gave 2 litres more milk and they are capable of a higher milk production level at the peak of lactation as well.
Á. S.: In the previous period we had a lot of problems. Unfortunately our herd had very poor body condition, poor immunity and poor production parameters. By consistent work and by formulating good rations we succeeded in creating more favourable conditions, and our plan was to select a new feed component as the subsequent step after having improved the above conditions. Our choice fell on Soyzin. After we started to feed Soyzin, our results improved in a spectacular manner. By providing rations of higher energy and protein level, the milk production increased, the milk composition improved and the reproductive performance also changed for the better.
A. F.: Overall, the period that has elapsed since the start of feeding the product has been successful; however, in order to continue our progress we will have to find the factors that could improve the efficiency of the sector. In recent years, we have made substantial investments:: we try to maintain the technical standard of our machine pool, we have constructed a new feed mixing plant on our farm and expanded or silo space and covered storage capacities. We can maintain profitability only if we can further increase our yields.
A. Gy.: After the farm reconstruction, we made major progress in utilizing the genetic potential of our herd. In the past four years we succeeded in achieving a higher level of management in terms of labour organization, farm technologies, technical standard and forage production, and this has clearly resulted in better results.
We thank our partners for their co-operation in the past period, and we wish our customers profitable business activity and great success in milk production for the future.
Chief Cattle Consultant
Dr. Attila Tanai
Director of Development