Molasses Arome Plus: A new generation feed flavor for feed identity and

affinity

Livestock animals frequently refuse to consume fodders or feed contaminated with unwanted materials. Utilizing flavor additives may be beneficial in increasing the consumption of even unpalatable feeds. Feed flavors also help during early weaning of young animals to achieve higher feed intakes, standardizing rations, making quality feeds more acceptable to animals and increasing or maintaining consumption of milk replacers. 

Even though studies have shown that livestock choose to consume feed with added flavors, there is little data on the effects of varied palatability on intake and production. Several studies where dietary starch was replaced by molasses or sucrose and fed to dairy cattle showed no effect on dry matter intake (Firkins et al., 2008; Martel et al., 2011).

Molasses Arome Plus is an innovative concept in the cattle industry, as it provides cattle feed a distinct taste identity and aroma, which can help develop a feed affinity in the animal. When mixed with animal feed, these distinct flavors provide strong feed identity and cattle not only relish the feed, but also consume more. 

What are Feed Flavors?

Feed flavors are compounds that can enhance the taste and smell of feed to stimulate feed intake. They can otherwise be also known as palatability modifiers.

What is Feed Intake and Palatability?

The word palatability usually designates features of feed that invoke a sensory response in the animal (Greenhalgh and Reid 1971). The function of certain senses in the feeding behaviors of ruminants has been studied and reviewed by a number of researchers (Demarquilly, 1978; Church, 1979; Grovum, 1988). It is well proven that the senses are used in selective grazing, but they are likely less significant when no choice is granted to a stall-fed animal. Even in such a simple position, however, it is impossible to describe voluntary feed intake for a full range of feeds solely in terms of digestive and metabolic characteristics (Faverdin et al, 1995). Since animals have sensitivity to different tastes and aromas, the use of additives with flavoring agents may contribute to higher feed intake, better functioning and body development (Nombekela et al., 1994).    

Palatability is determined by food characteristics, which cause a response in an animal’s senses such a vision, smell, touch and taste, resulting in an appetite more or less developed for specific food (Matthews, 1993). Also, Baumont (1996) observed that the feed palatability complex is a part of physical (plant structure, defense mechanism) and chemical (taste, smell) characteristics, which determine animal preference.  

Major Challenges in Feed Intake and Palatability of Dairy Animals

Palatability is the relationship between a feed’s flavor and its nutrient and toxin content. When an animal eats food, it is digested releasing nutrients and in many cases, toxins, because all plants take on some level of toxins. These nutrients and toxins are absorbed in the gut and enter to the cells and organs of the body. The signals are then passed on to the brain to make sure that food meets the animal’s nutritional needs and its past experience with the food. Senses (smell, taste, texture and experiences) enable animals to discriminate among food and provide pleasant or unpleasant feelings associated with eating. Whether or not animal readily eats food is not determined by flavor alone. Instead, it is influenced by the experience associated with eating the food ( Provenza, 1995).

Why are Feed Flavors and Taste Important in Cattle Feed and Dairy Animals?  

Taste plays a more significant part in livestock animals than in humans. The significance is shown in Table 1, which illustrate the number of taste buds in different animal species.

Species

Number of taste buds

Chicken

24

Pigeon

37

Cat

473

Dog

1,706

Human

9,000

Pig/Goat

15,000

Rabbit

17,000

Calf

25,000

Table 1: Number of taste buds in different species (According to Christina Hof, 2000)

 

If animals adapt to a particular flavor over a period of time, there is a positive feedback registered in the brain. In the case of flavor feedback interaction, nerves for taste meet with nerves from the body at the base of the brain. These nerves interact as they send information throughout the central nervous system. Feedback from the body to the palate is how groups of cells and organs influence which foods and how much those foods are eaten. Animals also develop a certain interest for flavor basing on a specific ingredient available in a particular region, which may not be available in an another region. Feeding behavior is more sensitive to the different characteristic of feeds in a choice situation. Effects on intake of various odoriferous compounds vary in amplitude and sometimes according to whether the animals have a choice or not (Arnold, 1970).  

Because of sudden inflation in the prices of feed ingredients or lack of availability of ingredients, it is always hard to suddenly replace any ingredient which may have a negative influence on the new ingredient which is partially or totally replaced. This can help the dairy farmers to try a variety of ingredient to optimize their feed cost under controlled circumstances.

Flavors play an important role in inclusion of unconventional fodder resources which has a good nutritive value but may have an off flavor.

Flavor play a major role during transition period of dairy animals. During this period the diet needs to be balanced with different varieties of anionic and cationic salts to maintain the Dietary Cation Anion Differences (DCAD). Usually all the salts are bitter in flavor and this may in fact hamper the dry matter intake, leading to occurrences of metabolic disorder and negative energy balance. 

Flavors need to be included in instances where due to improper ensiling during silage making, there is a development of heat in the silage bunkers which can lead to burnt flavor, thereby having a great effect on the dry matter intake.

Molasses AromePlus can increase cattle affinity to feed, therefore improving consumption when compared with the other flavors available in the market.