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TDK conference 2019

Role of probiotics in herd health and animal nutrition on hungarian dairy cattle farms
Várhidi Zsóka - year 5
University of Veterinary Medicine Budapest, Department of Veterinary Forensics, Law and Economics
Supervisor: Dr. László Ózsvári


In the European Union, there is an increasing need for farm animal nutrition products whose positive effects can replace antibiotics that have been used in large amounts until recently. Thus, the used amount of probiotics started to significantly increase on farms in the past few years.

During my research, on one hand I surveyed the present practice of use of probiotics on Hungarian dairy cattle farms and the experience of the farm nutrition experts. On the other hand, I surveyed the current state of the Hungarian probiotics production and distribution. Selected leaders in charge of animal nutrition on 23 different dairy cattle farms and managers responsible for feed distribution in 8 different distributor companies filled out the on-line questionnaires in October 2018, after direct inquiry.

The survey of the nutritional experts working on cattle farms practically covered the entire country. 70% of the surveyed farms used probiotics, most often aiming at the optimization of rumen fermentation, protection against stressors and supplementation of medical treatments. The most common positive experience regarding the use of probiotics were increased efficiency of raising calves, increased milk yield, more stable rumen fermentation and increased stress-resistance and healing. Nobody experienced any negative effects.

5 out of 8 feed nutrition companies produce probiotic products for cattle and 1 only distributes them. Farm managers and feed distributors also think that farm managers do not have the proper knowledge of probiotics. For the sake of professional and effective use of probiotics, their knowledge should definitely be increased. Based on the distributors’ own experiments, companies can expect the probiotic products to improve feed digestibility, calf raising efficacy and reproductive performance.

According to the distributors, the next generation of probiotic products will be microencapsulated, they will contain multiple strains and species of bacteria and prebiotics, too. Probiotic microorganisms will reproduce faster in specific areas of the digestive system and they will have an immune stimulating effect, as well. The goal in the product development is to create probiotics with increased effectivity and value for money, that have a complex impact and are easier to administer on herd level.

Summarily, it can be concluded that at the same time with the decrease in use of antibiotics, probiotics could increasingly be used on dairy cattle farms as part of preventive programs and necessary supplements of antimicrobial treatments.

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