20 November 2014

The importance of effective transition management for cow performance, fertility and health during lactation is now widely recognised. But according to Dr Derek McIlmoyle, AB Vista’s Technical Director for GB & Ireland, the vital role of choline within that process is still too often overlooked.

“Minimising the impact of post-calving negative energy balance – when energy demand outstrips supply from the ration – is crucial to lactation performance,” he states. “All cows will mobilise body fat to make up the shortfall, yet this relies on the liver being able to convert the fat into a form which can be exported to the mammary gland to supply energy, and that liver processing relies on an adequate supply of choline.”

Unfortunately, choline in feed ingredients is degraded by the rumen microbes, and cows are unable to synthesise sufficient choline to match the level of body fat mobilised during early lactation. The result is a build-up of unprocessed fats in the liver – fatty liver syndrome – and a reduction in liver function.

“Fatty liver syndrome currently affects around 50-60% of all cows at, or shortly after, calving,” Dr McIlmoyle continues. “The accumulation of mobilised fat in the liver also means the cow’s negative energy balance isn’t corrected, so more body fat is mobilised and the liver becomes even further overloaded in a cascading cycle.

“The key is to boost choline supply and support liver function by feeding a rumen-protected choline supplement like ReaShure for three weeks either side of calving. The result is an average increase in daily milk yield of 2.2 kg/cow, and a reduction in post-calving health disorders, such as retained placenta, metritis, ketosis and mastitis.

“In one university study, for example, the overall incidence of health disorders fell from 57.1% to 38.4% following use of a rumen-protected choline chloride supplement for the full recommended six week period,” he adds.

For more information, contact AB Vista on +44 (0)1672 517 650 or


Notes to editor:

AB Vista is a leading global supplier of micro-ingredients for the animal feed industry.

For further press information please contact Nic Daley or Mike Keeler on +44 (0)20 8647 4467.



About Us

AB Vista is an animal nutrition technology company offering pioneering products and technical services to the global animal feed industry. Since its establishment in 2004, AB Vista has grown to be a top-three player in feed enzymes and is also one of the largest suppliers of natural betaine to the global animal nutrition industry. The company invests heavily in research and development and has a growing portfolio of products and services spanning the poultry, swine, ruminant and aquaculture sectors. AB Vista is headquartered in the UK, with regional offices located in the USA, Brazil, Singapore, Spain, India, China, Germany and Finland. AB Vista is part of AB Agri, the agricultural division of Associated British Foods, one of Europe’s largest food & retail companies with a market capitalisation of £22 billion.