The Highly Digestible Fiber for Dairy Rations

NutriFiber is a forage grass technology, available in select Barenbrug grasses, that helps modern dairy producers by providing physically effective, digestible fiber for today’s high producing cows. Today’s high-producing dairy cows require both Non-Fiber Carbohydrate (NFC) and Neutral Detergent Fiber (NDF). Properly balancing NFC and NDF is critical for animal health and profitable production. Table 1 below presents ration guidelines.

Balance High Energy Rations

Commonly formulated rations frequently contain too much NFC and too little highly digestible, physically effective fiber. Unlike commonly utilized feedstuffs (Table 2), NutriFiber is ideally composed to properly balance high energy rations for today’s high-producing dairy cows.


Ruminants fed a diet high in water-soluble carbohydrates (sugars and starches) from grain and other feedstuffs can suffer in a number of ways. A lack of highly digestible, physically effective NDF (peNDF) plus an excess of rapidly fermenting grains and sugars can cause chronic lactic acidosis in dairy cows and other ruminants. Issues such as hoof problems, milk fat depression, high cull rates, transient diarrhea, unexplained death loss, clostridial infections or liver abscesses can be caused by Subacute Ruminal Acidosis (SARA). 


Forages low in Neutral Detergent Fiber Digestibility (NDFd), such as mature alfalfa and grasses, corn stalks or even wheat straw, will provide fiber but can limit feed intake due to slow passage rate. The NDFd of commodities like corn gluten feed and beet pulp are high, but their total NDF content is relatively low and their NFC content is high (see Table 2), making it difficult to achieve the ration target shown in Table 1. Soy hulls do contain a relatively high amount of NDF that is highly digestible and have a low content of NFC, but they are low in the physically effective NDF (peNDF) that cows need for cud chewing and proper rumen function.