New study: MELOFEED supplement supports milk yield during heat stress

According to the results of a new study shared by Lallemand Animal Nutrition, melon-derived dietary antioxidant MELOFEED helps improve heat stress adaptation and milk quality in dairy goats.

New study: MELOFEED supplement supports milk yield during heat stressDuring the 10th International Sheep Veterinary Congress (ISVC) in Seville, Spain, Lallemand Animal Nutrition presented a new study on the benefits of supplementing the diets of dairy goats with MELOFEED, a natural source of superoxide dismutase (SOD) made from dried melon juice, during heat stress periods.1 According to the study, the antioxidant supplement helped maintain both the milk yield and the milk quality. A similar outcome has been described in dairy cows. MELOFEED is recommended for all ruminant species.

Heat stress affects all ruminants’ welfare and milk production. A new tool has been developed by Lallemand Animal Nutrition to help nutritionists and farmers estimate their losses and take steps to regain production. For dairy goats, when the temperature-humidity index (THI) goes up to 70, milk yield and milk quality can be reduced by up to 10%. Scientists established a strong link between heat stress and the animals’ antioxidant status, and nutritionists usually recommend increasing antioxidant supplementation during challenging periods such as heat stress.

The trial was conducted in southern Spain to assess the efficacy of supplementing a dairy goat diet with a source of SOD from melon, MELOFEED, in helping to alleviate milk production reduction during heat stress periods and supporting reductions in milk SCC.

The trial was conducted by the University Miguel Hernández, Alicante, in 2021 on 48 dairy goats during the summer months with a maximum THI of 85 to 90.

Figure 1: Effect of MELOFEED on average milk loss under heat stress

The goats supplemented with MELOFEED during the heat stress period showed:
A reduction of milk yield losses (+0.4 kg/goat/day; P<0.1) (Figure 1)
Lower SCC (from 340,000 to 280,000 cells/mL), with fewer goats over 1,500,000 cells/mL (60% reduction) (Figure 2)
A reduction in rectal temperature (-0.23°C, P<0.01), as the animals seem to better cope with the heat stress.

Finally, this reduction of the stress related to hot weather is visible at the feed bunk level with a reduction in feed refusals, which is a sign of overall improvement in well-being.

Figure 2: Effect of MELOFEED on SCC under heat stress

These beneficial effects can be explained by a reduction in oxidative stress for the animals, as indicated by a significantly lower total oxidant status (TOS) (-1.5; P<0.01), which is reflected at the cellular level with a reduced level of hemolysis for blood samples from goats fed MELOFEED vs. those fed only the control diet (-22%; P=0.08).

The improved milk yield alone brings a significant return on investment for the producer, in addition to the potential benefits to well-being linked to reduced SCC and preserved antioxidant status.

It can be concluded that the source of melon SOD, MELOFEED, is a valuable tool to help alleviate the negative effects of heat stress on dairy goats.

1Gauthier M., J. J. Del Campo, P., Soler Llorens, F., Barbé, E., Chevaux. 2023. Superoxide dismutase-rich melon extract supplementation helps improve heat stress adaptation and the milk quality of dairy goats. Abstract 63 at ISVC, Spain 2023.