Mucking out a dairy stall is not just sanitary; it can also be a window to the digestive process of cattle bred to produce more milk and calve bigger, healthier offspring. That makes manure evaluation incredibly important to farmers, veterinarians and nutritional consultants.
ADM has made the process easier and faster by developing the first mobile app—available now to French producers—that analyzes the risk of ruminal acidosis in a dairy herd. Ruminal acidosis is a metabolic disease related to the digestibility of certain animal feeds. Cereals like corn, barley and wheat are rapidly fermentable carbohydrates that support increased milk production but can also generate excess quantities of volatile fatty acids in a cow’s rumen as feed is digested.
Acidosis can negatively affect a cow’s feed intake, milk production and rumen digestion, among other issues. Unfortunately, afflicted cows may not show any clinical signs before they go off feed, lose weight, become lethargic and suffer diarrhea.
My RumiDiag is a user-friendly digital tool that can estimate risk of ruminal acidosis from a picture of cow dung.
Simply open the app to take photos of fresh excrement with a smartphone or tablet and answer a couple of yes or no questions.
Are there visible grain particles, like corn kernels? Any nutrients not digested and absorbed by the cow’s rumen, small intestine or large intestine are excreted in feces and urine.
Are there excessive amounts of mucus? That can be a sign of chronic inflammation or injury to gut tissue. Such physical indicators may suggest ruminal acidosis.
My RumiDiag draws on the expertise of ADM technicians and artificial intelligence (AI) technology to evaluate the quality of cow digestion. “We never leave farmers alone to make a risk assessment,” says Julien Mailliu, ADM’s digital apps manager.