Fewer cows but more milk? Here’s a solution…
Adding BICAR®Z to animal feed diets helps reduce the number of cows needed to answer milk demand
As global demand for milk and its derivatives (butter, cheese, cream) keeps growing, the number of cows around the world should, presumably, increase with it. Fortunately, there is a well-known and widely used solution to produce more milk without breeding more cattle: energy rich diets. Namely a mixture of cereals, minerals and protein increases the yield of cows, but using it comes with a downside. “Concentrated feed generates strong acidity in the animals’ digestive system, which impacts their health and production performance,” explains Stefania Tornelli, Global Strategic Marketing specialist at Solvay’s Soda Ash & Derivatives business unit. “In addition to its main contribution as a sodium source (feed material) in ruminant feed, BICAR®Z also reduces the risk of rumen acidosis. By providing a source of bicarbonate, the buffering capacity of the rumen is increased and thus the rumen pH stabilized.”
Solvay markets such a buffer under the brand name BICAR®Z, a product recognized for its cost efficiency, its purity and its simplicity, and one of the Group’s solutions to help feed the world sustainably.
We were able to push demand for BICAR®Z by demonstrating it’s the solution for improving the growth and well-being of livestock.
Optimizing production to reduce resource consumption
By relying on numerous independent experts, Solvay was able to demonstrate in recent years how sodium bicarbonate can help improve yields in animal farming. We continue to work closely with experts and farmers to constantly adjust dosage recommendations according to regional specificities as well as evolving agricultural practices.
What’s more, BICAR®Z is a high purity and completely safe product (so safe it’s edible!), which also provides the added benefits of being easy to use for farmers and compatible with the most stringent agricultural regulations, including organic farming. “We were able to push demand thanks to innovative marketing by demonstrating it as a solution for improving the growth and well-being of livestock, particularly in Europe, our historic market,” says Stefania.
This was all the more difficult due to the fact that the animal feed market is a very fragmented one, with specific players in every country and various intermediaries. Solvay’s customers here are compound producers, premix producers and specialized distributors, as well as certain large farming outfits that handle their own feed preparation.
Though cattle feed represents roughly three quarters of the market, BICAR®Z is also used in aquaculture as pH adjuster and for swine and poultry farming, as a source of sodium that helps maintain a correct electrolyte balance and improves the animals’ performance, especially in hot weather.
It’s a simple equation: happier animals equal better production, which amounts to reducing agriculture’s need for water, land and resources.