This is in reply to your request concerning my experience with Winnemucca Mudd in my capacity as an independent ruminant nutrition consultant. My professional practice primarily involves dairy nutrition in the state of California; however, I have also worked with beef feedlot clientele in California. In the past four years that I’ve used Winnemucca Mudd I’ve worked with clientele feeding over 100,000 milking cows daily. My clients have included dairymen and dairy feed suppliers. Winnemucca Mudd has been a valuable asset to me in my endeavor to increase milk production and improve herd health, thereby increasing profits to the dairymen and their feed suppliers.
There are several reasons why I find this product helpful in my dairy nutrition consulting. First, I get a buffering action out of the calcium carbonate and magnesium carbonate in Winnemucca Mudd. In California, we have the most progressive dairymen in the world and they constantly push for higher milk production. In so doing, they feed large amounts of grain and other readily fermentable carbohydrate feeds.
These feeds are rapidly fermented by the rumen microorganisms (bacteria and protozoa) and organic acids are produced. The rumen is the first of four compartments of the ruminant stomach and it is by far the largest in capacity, having a volume of 40 to 60 gallons in an adult dairy cow. Simply, the rumen is a fermentation vat. The organic acids produced by the rumen fermentation are responsible for the majority of the ruminants energy needs for milk flow, body tissue increases, and maintenance. Therefore, it is desirable to produce as much of these acids as possible.
High quality microbial proteins and amino acids plus B-complex vitamins are synthesized in the rumen for the benefit of the host animal. If we have a strong , active rumen microbial population, we can achieve greater milk production, so we do all the things necessary to encourage the rumen bacteria and protozoa. These microbes are endangered by the organic acids produced in the fermentation process -- the acids can kill them off! It seems ironic that these rumen bugs are killed by acids they worked so hard to produce for the benefit of the host cow. Now, if we buffer those acids in the rumen, the microorganisms can avoid being killed and can go right on fermenting and producing more organic acids for absorption from the rumen into the bloodstream for the purpose of energy for milk production. Winnemucca Mudd is the buffering agent!
Why is it better than any others I have used? Well, sodium bicarbonate is not as palatable and I’m trying to get these cows to eat a lot of feed so I can get a lot of milk; therefore, sodium bicarbonate is out! Also, its buffering action is over too fast because it is so soluble in water that its action only lasts for a couple of hours. I need a buffer that will last between feedings (12 or more hours). Magnesium oxide is too expensive and unpalatable as a buffering agent. Straight calcium carbonate (limestone) is better than nothing, but doesn’t come close to matching Winnemucca Mudd as a buffering agent because it doesn’t have the right solubility characteristics in the rumen. Winnemucca Mudd is palatable and it doesn’t dissolve in water. It has the solubility characteristics required for it to buffer against the organic acids produced in the rumen the entire period between feedings. Winnemucca Mudd becomes soluble when it comes in contact with acid fluid and that is when it exerts its buffering action.
As a bacterial cell approaches a starch molecule in the rumen and begins fermenting the starch, the immediate surroundings become acid because organic acids are being produced and this is when Winnemucca Mudd saves that bacterial cell. Protozoa are larger than bacteria, but fewer in number in the rumen. Protozoa are more sensitive to acid than bacteria and are easily killed by it. We especially want to save these protozoa because they have a role in the butterfat production in the dairy cow. Fewer protozoa in the rumen means less butterfat production in the dairy cow.
Acidosis in the rumen also causes a diarrhea condition in the cow and an increased rate of feed passage through the gut results in decreased feed digestibility and hence reduced production of butterfat and milk. The feed has to stay in the rumen and remainder of the gut a sufficient time for adequate fermentation, digestion and nutrient absorption into the bloodstream to occur. Acidosis causes microbial kill and diarrhea. Feeding Winnemucca Mudd definitely decreases the amount of undigested fiber and grain found in the manure of either dairy cows or feedlot steers.
Excess acids not only kill rumen bacteria and protozoa, thereby decreasing the ruminants ability to utilize fibrous-type feedstuffs, but these acids also destroy the surface lining of the gut walls. This is seen as “slime” or mucous lining in the feces. A gut lining that is losing its integrity cannot be doing an optimal job of absorbing nutrients across its wall and into the bloodstream. Nutrients must reach the bloodstream and hence cells of the proper body organs before they have accomplished their task. Winnemucca Mudd helps maintain gut lining integrity by buffering against these acids!
A break in the gut lining enables pathogenic or filth bacteria to gain access to the bloodstream and thereby travel to the liver. Once they arrive at the liver they can easily cause liver abscesses, which result in liver condemnations, decreased body weight gains and poor feed conversions. It has been estimated that liver abscesses reduce daily gains in feedlot cattle by as much as 1/4 lb. per head per day. Not only is performance reduced, but also the liver is not saleable for human food, so the cattle buyer reduces his price to the feeder. A 10,000 head lot feeding Winnemucca Mudd, where steers received an all concentrate ration (only 8 1/2% crude fiber) for 260 days, had a record of 4% liver condemnations over a period of several years. Frequently, feedlots using high-energy, low-roughage rations encounter liver condemnation rates that are 5 to 10 times the level experienced in cattle fed Winnemucca Mudd because it prevents digestive upsets among the rumen microbial population which produces excessive gas in bloat situations.
It would be so easy if we could simply reduce the organic acid production resulting from the rumen fermentation process, but we cannot because the ruminant depends upon these acids (primarily acetic, prop ionic and butyric) for the majority of its energy supply. Therefore we must encourage their production and also protect the rumen bacteria and protozoa that produce them. Winnemucca Mudd has been the most effective product I have found for this purpose. I have used several other dolomites represented effectively as Winnemucca Mudd. With the other dolomites, the cattle had a black colored diarrhea and had more undigested grain and fiber remaining in the feces. Within 72 hours after replacing Winnemucca Mudd with the other dolomites, one can see these problems beginning to develop. Likewise, when switched back to Winnemucca Mudd, cattle will begin to respond within 48 to 72 hours.
Since I work with several hundred dairies through different feed companies and spend a great deal of my time “trouble-shooting” at the dairies, I could endlessly cite specific cases where Winnemucca Mudd has enabled me to turn a herd around and bring back production and herd health. One of the most dramatic instances involved a herd of 400 cows that I was called upon to observe. They had dropped over I gallon of milk per cow per day, lost 150 to 170 lbs. of body weight and butterfat test was also low. Many of the cows refused to eat and appetite was very poor for the entire herd. The veterinarian could find no disease state present and agreed it was a nutritional problem. I diagnosed the problem as severe metabolic acidosis with almost total kill of rumen microorganisms and promptly top dressed the evening feed with four times the normal daily intake of Winnemucca Mudd. The cows ate the Winnemucca Mudd eagerly, as if they were seeking it. The next morning (12 hours) the herd showed a definite improvement in appetite and alertness. Within 24 hours the herd had turned the corner and the dairymen made the decision not to butcher several cows he had given up on prior to the Winnemucca Mudd feeding. Feed consumption and milk production began returning to normal within 3 days. No other changes were made in the feed.
It was like a miracle to the dairyman because he was going out of business fast. The veterinarian agreed that we had narrowly avoided experiencing a deadly outbreak of the acid-loving pathogenic organism Clostridium perfringes. This organism also causes enterotoxaemia in lambs and is known for its ability to kill an animal quickly. As we feed more grain to get more milk production in our dairy cows we are seeing more of this organism in California. More grain feeding means more acids in the gut and this organism grows rapidly in an acid gut and produces its toxin. You can vaccinate against it with an antitoxin, but Winnemucca Mudd prevents metabolic acidosis, so it protects against Clostridium perfringes in both dairy cows and feedlot cattle.
It is difficult to predict exactly how much Winnemucca Mudd will increase butterfat percentage in milk and milk volume. All things being equal, one could expect a 12% increase in butterfat production and milk flow. The more grain or energy fed, the greater the response from Winnemucca Mudd! In feedlot steers on all- concentrate rations (only 8 1/2% fiber), I have experienced as high as 20% increases in gains and 20% improvements in conversions of feed to body gains. At least 10% improvement can be seen in almost any feedlot, provided the rest of the nutrition balance is proper. One must always keep in mind that all of the nutritional factors for top production must be supplied daily. Winnemucca Mudd shows the greatest benefits where high energy is being fed and the best possible job is being done to feed the rumen microorganisms the nutritional factors they require for a vigorous fermentation action. The better nutrition job you do, the greater the chances are that you will need a buffering agent.
In addition to buffering action, Winnemucca Mudd reduces nerve irritability because of its magnesium content. Magnesium deficiencies are known to cause nervousness and convulsions, as seen in classic grass tetany death cases. This is well documented. The magnesium in Winnemucca Mudd is very available and it has frequently been observed to have a quieting effect on cattle making them more productive because they waste less nervous energy and they are more easily handled with less fear of injury to man or beast. Magnesium is frequently deficient in human and animal diets and is related to high blood pressure and heart disorders.
Experience with Winnemucca Mudd has also proven to me that herd health problems such as milk fever, acetonemia, retained placenta, failure to breed and weak calves at birth are greatly reduced when this product is incorporated into the feeding program. Quite likely, this is due to the fact that the animal is able to more thoroughly digest, absorb, and assimilate nutrients in feedstuffs for the reasons I have mentioned previously when Winnemucca Mudd is fed.
Winnemucca Mudd also contains many trace elements that are rapidly being depleted in our croplands and hence our crops. Modern agriculture has failed to fully consider and properly replace these nutrients in our soils. Numerous alfalfa cuttings each year and double-cropping are removing these nutrients at an alarming rate. There is no question in my mind that Winnemucca Mudd, being a marine-life deposit, is a valuable source of trace minerals and another reason why it does such a terrific job in ruminants.