June 30, 2008


Canada's Nuvac rolls out bacterial feed additive


NUVAC Sciences de la vie, a Canadian company represented in Vermont by the nonprofit Economic Development Council of Northern Vermont, says it has developed natural bacterial products that can help dairy cows increase milk output and break down manure.

The company claimed that the product can be put in the manure pit to break down the top crust so that the smell can be reduced and the manure liquefied and thus improved as a fertilizer.
By improving absorption, the product could also help the environment by reducing the phosphorus runoff from farms, the company said.
NUVAC President Noel Gauthier, made the claims Thursday at a local farm meeting with government officials present. 


Gauthier and Bill Zuccareno of the development council supported the company's claims with data detailing increases in butterfat, protein and volume for dairy cows using BoviPlex, a feed additive. The company also had data showing that MaxiCharge, applied to manure pits, speeds the "aerobic digestion" of manure solids, eating it like "Pacman," as Gauthier put it.


Gauthier said patents for the process of growing the bacteria are pending in the US and Canada. The ingredients are approved by the Food and Drug Administration in the US and by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.


Agriculture Secretary Roger Albee said the company's presentation was interesting, but as there were a lot of products with similar claims on the market, more questions would have to be answered in order to assess its true benefits.

He said his department's scientific staff and scientists from the Agency of Natural Resources would meet with the technical staff from NUVAC and evaluate the company's data.
The evaluation process, he said, could take up to a year and a half.


Farmers who tried it for a three-month period with a control group said dairy cows tested produced milk with higher protein content and in larger quantities.

Steve Reed, manager of the Sunset Lake Farm in Alburgh,  said NUVAC's data showed he gained seven pounds in daily production from the 425 Holsteins in the test. Since the test ended, he said, production has declined by three pounds a day per cow.

Reed calculated that the cost of the product could be recovered if daily milk production increased by about 1 1/2 pounds per cow, though so many factors entered into milk and crop production it was difficult to attribute changes to one cause. But he was convinced that MaxiCharge had worked in the manure pit since there was no longer a crust in the manure pit.


Zuccareno, from the development council, said he was at first skeptical about the product as well, given the other products that did not work as claimed. He added that NUVAC would have a mountain to climb in convincing people but the company has done its homework.

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