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Title:
A RUMINANT FEED, A METHOD OF MAKING A RUMINANT FEED, AND A FEEDING METHOD
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2017/191354
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The present invention relates to ruminant feeds, to methods of making animal feeds that can be fed to ruminants, and to methods of feeding ruminants. The animal feeds prepared according to the method of the invention may improve various aspects of milk production in the ruminants. For instance, the ruminant feeds prepared according to the invention may increase the amount of milk production by the ruminant, increase the total protein production of the milk produced by the ruminant, and improve utilization of feed protein and feed energy content by the ruminant.

Inventors:
ARONEN, Ilmo (Raisionkaari 55, Raisio, 21200, FI)
HOLMA, Merja (Raisionkaari 55, Raisio, 21200, FI)
KORHONEN, Mikko (Raisionkaari 55, Raisio, 21200, FI)
Application Number:
FI2016/050286
Publication Date:
November 09, 2017
Filing Date:
May 04, 2016
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
RAISIOAGRO OY (Raisionkaari 55, Raisio, 21200, FI)
International Classes:
A23K50/10; A23K10/30; A23K20/158; A23K40/00; A23C9/00
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SEPPO LAINE OY (Itämerenkatu 3 A, Helsinki, FI-00180, FI)
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Claims:
CLAIMS:

1. A ruminant feed comprising:

- dehusked oats;

- a fatty acid composition;

- optionally other protein, carbohydrate and/or fat containing feed materials, auxiliary agents and additives used in feeds. 2. A ruminant feed comprising:

- dehusked oats and/or naked oats;

- a fatty acid composition;

- optionally other protein, carbohydrate and/or fat containing feed materials, auxiliary agents and additives used in feeds.

3. The ruminant feed according to claim 1 or 2 wherein the fatty acid composition comprises a fatty acid component and optionally an emulsifier.

4. The ruminant feed according to claim 3 wherein the fatty acid component includes at least 90% of a saturated fatty acid compound by weight, preferably at least 98% of a saturated fatty acid compound by weight.

5. The ruminant feed according to claim 4 wherein the fatty acid component includes at least 90% of palmitic acid compound by weight, preferably at least 98% of a palmitic acid compound by weight.

6. The ruminant feed according to any one of the preceding claims wherein the fatty acid composition is present in the ruminant feed in an amount of 0.1 to 90 %.

7. The ruminant feed according to claim 6, which is a complete feed (i.e . a ruminant feed which contains all the roughage needed by the ruminant) comprising 0.5 - 3%, preferably about 2%, of the fatty acid composition.

8. The ruminant feed according to claim 6, which is a compound feed comprising 1 - 5%, preferably about 3%, of the fatty acid composition.

9. The ruminant feed according to claim 6, which is a compound feed (concentrate) comprising 5 - 8%, preferably about 6%, of the fatty acid composition.

10. The ruminant feed according to claim 6, which is a compound feed (concentrate) comprising 8 - 30%, preferably about 15%, of the fatty acid composition. 11. The ruminant feed according to claim 6, which is a supplementary compound feed comprising 30 - 90%, preferably about 60%, of the fatty acid composition.

12. The ruminant feed according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein dehusked oats comprises dehusked or dehulled grains of the species Avena sativa.

13. The ruminant feed according to any one of claims 2-12, wherein naked oats comprises grains of the species Avena nuda ox Avena sativa var nuda.

14. The ruminant feed according to any one of the preceding claims wherein the amount of dehusked oats or naked oats in the ruminant feed is 10 - 90 % by weight of the ruminant feed.

15. The ruminant feed according to claim 14, which is a complete feed wherein the amount of dehusked or naked oats is 10 - 60 % by weight of the complete feed.

16. The ruminant feed according to claim 14, which is a compound feed wherein the amount of dehusked or naked oats is 15 - 70 % by weight of the compound feed.

17. The ruminant feed according to claim 14, which is a compound feed (concentrate) wherein the amount of dehusked or naked oats is 30 - 50 % by weight of the compound feed.

18. The ruminant feed according to claim 14, which is a compound feed (concentrate) wherein the amount of dehusked or naked oats is 50 - 85 % by weight of the compound feed. 19. The ruminant feed according to claim 14, which is a supplementary compound feed wherein the amount of dehusked or naked oats is 10 - 70% by weight of the supplementary compound feed.

20. The ruminant feed according to claim 6 or 14, which is a compound feed having a protein content which is 2 - 6 percent units lower compared to a corresponding ruminant compound feed which does not contain dehusked or naked oats and a fatty acid composition.

21. The ruminant feed according to claim 20, which is a compound feed wherein the protein content is lowered by decreasing the proportion of main protein source(s) and/or by replacing other feed ingredients with corresponding feed ingredients having a lower protein content.

22. The ruminant feed according to any one of the preceding claims wherein the ruminant feed comprises at least one other feed material.

23. The ruminant feed according to any one of the preceding claims wherein the feed material further comprises at least one grain, at least one oilseed meal, and optionally at least one ingredient selected from the group consisting of sugar beet pulp, molasses, sugar cane and molassed sugar beet pulp.

24. The ruminant feed according to any one of the preceding claims wherein the feed material comprises wheat, wheat bran, wheat middlings, barley, barley bran, barley middlings, grain hulls, soybean hulls, peanut hulls, brewery by-product, yeast derivatives, grasses, hay, seeds, fruit peels, fruit pulps, legumes, pulses, peas, beans, plant-based feedstuffs, corn, oats, oat hulls, oat bran, oat middlings, sorghum, millet, algae, or distilled dried grains (DDGS) with solubles.

25. The ruminant feed according to any one of the preceding claims wherein the feed material comprises rapeseed meals, soya meals, sunflower meals, bean meals, linseed meals, cottonseed meals, grapeseed meals, coconut meals, olive meals or mixtures thereof. 26. The ruminant feed according to any one of the preceding claims wherein the feed material comprises added vitamins, minerals, trace elements, amino acids, amino acid derivatives, and/or glucogenic precursors.

27. The ruminant feed according to claim 26 wherein the added amino acids or amino acid derivatives comprise methionine, histidine and/or lysine.

28. The ruminant feed according to any one of the preceding claims wherein the method of preparing the ruminant feed comprises heat treatment or conditioning. 29. The ruminant feed according to any one of the preceding claims wherein the fatty acid composition comprises an emulsifier selected from the group consisting of non-ionic surfactants.

30. The ruminant feed according to claim 29 wherein the emulsifier is a polysorbate or a polyoxyethylene sorbitan monooleate.

31. The ruminant feed according to claim 29 or 30 wherein the ratio of the emulsifier and the fatty acid component in the fatty acid composition is 5:95. 32. The ruminant feed according to any one of the preceding claims, which is a compound feed, a complete feed, a concentrate feed, a supplementary compound feed, a supplement or a booster.

33. A method of preparing a ruminant feed mixture, comprising:

- preparing a mixture by combining ground dehusked and/or naked oats, a fatty acid composition and optionally at least one other feed material;

- conditioning the mixture at a conditioning temperature over a period of a conditioning time to provide the ruminant feed mixture, and

- optionally pressing the conditioned ruminant feed mixture into pellets.

34. The method of claim 33 wherein the conditioning temperature is at least about 65°C and at most 99°C, preferably at least about 70°C and at most 85°C. 35. The method of claim 33 wherein the conditioning time is from about 2 minutes to about 30 minutes, preferably from about 3 minutes to 20 minutes, even more preferably from about 3 minutes to about 10 minutes.

36. The method of claim 33 wherein the conditioning temperature is up to 99°C while the conditioning time is up to 3 minutes.

37. The method of claim 33 wherein the conditioning temperature is up to 85°C while the conditioning time is up to 5 minutes. 38. The method according to any one of claims 33-37 wherein conditioning comprises long-term conditioning.

39. The method according to any one of claims 33-38 wherein the mixture is steam- conditioned and the steam-conditioned mixture is further heated in a long-term conditioner.

40. A ruminant feed prepared by the method of any one of claims 33-39.

41. A method of increasing milk production of a ruminant, comprising:

- providing a ruminant feed according to any one of claims 1-32 to the ruminant for ingestion; and

- collecting milk from the ruminant after the ruminant has ingested the ruminant feed, wherein the amount of milk collected from the ruminant is higher than the amount of milk collected from the ruminant before the ruminant ingested the ruminant feed.

42. A method of increasing total protein production of a milk of a ruminant, comprising:

- providing a ruminant feed according to any one of claims 1-32 to the ruminant for ingestion; and

- collecting milk from the ruminant after the ruminant has ingested the feed.

43. A method of feeding a ruminant, comprising providing a ruminant feed according to any one of claims 1-32 to the ruminant for ingestion. 44. A method of increasing utilization of feed protein and feed energy in a dairy cow, comprising providing a ruminant feed according to any one of claims 1-32 to the dairy cow for ingestion.

45. The method according to any one of claims 41-44 wherein the daily amount of dehusked or naked oats provided to the ruminant is from at least 50 g/kg milk up to 300 g/kg milk.

46. The method according to claim 45 wherein the daily amount of dehusked or naked oats provided to the ruminant is 75-250 g/ kg milk.

47. The method according to claim 45 wherein the daily amount of dehusked or naked oats provided to the ruminant is 100-200 g/kg milk.

48. The method according to any one of claims 41-47 wherein the daily amount of the fatty acid component provided to the ruminant is at least 5 g/kg milk, preferably 5-15 g/kg milk, more preferably about 10 g/kg milk.

49. The method according to any one of claims 41-48 wherein the feed material comprises a daily dosage of added amino acids, which is 5-50 g/d of each individual amino acid or 100 - 500 g/d of an amino acid mixture.

50. The method of any one of the preceding claims wherein the ruminant is a dairy cow.

Description:
A RUMINANT FEED, A METHOD OF MAKING A RUMINANT FEED, AND A

FEEDING METHOD

FIELD OF THE INVENTION [0001] The present invention relates to ruminant feeds, to methods for making animal feeds that can be fed to ruminants, and to methods for feeding ruminants. The animal feeds according to the invention may improve various aspects of milk production in the ruminants. For instance, the ruminant feeds according to the invention may increase the amount of milk production by the ruminant, increase the total milk protein production of the ruminant, and improve utilization of feed protein and feed energy by the ruminant.

BACKGROUND

[0002] Feeding of ruminants is based on the ability of ruminants to utilize fiber of coarse feeds, such as grass silage. However, the proportion of compound feeds in the feeding of ruminants has increased together with increased milk production levels. Feeding has to be more efficient as regards utilization of energy, protein and other nutrients.

[0003] Traditionally, oat has been a major ingredient in the feeds of Finnish dairy cattle. During recent years, oat has often been replaced by barley and wheat due to their higher energy content compared to oats. Typically, the outer covering called hull or husk comprises 20-30% of the weight of the oat grain. Due to the higher proportion of fiber (husk), the energy content of oats is lower than that of other grains. Moreover, when oats is milled, light-weight oat grains containing the hull or husk often remain unbroken and thus pass directly through the digestive tract of the animal causing production losses.

[0004] Cultivation of huskless oats (Avena nuda, "naked" or hull-less oats) has been challenging and its crop yields have been only moderate. Thus it has not yet been of interest to Finnish dairy farmers. On the other hand, traditional oats {Avena sativa) which has been dehusked or dehulled after harvesting is expensive. However, in non-ruminant feeding, naked or huskless oats {Avena nuda) has been used instead of corn. Also dehusked oat {Avena sativa) has partly replaced corn in non-ruminant feeds.

[0005] As regards ruminant feeding, conflicting results have been obtained when dehusked, huskless or naked oats are fed to ruminants. Dehusked {Avena sativa) or naked (Avena nuda) oats are known to lower the fat and protein contents of milk if fed as such although milk production were the same or even slightly better compared to results obtained with barley.

[0006] In patent application GB 2 312 605 A, a dairy feed ingredient comprising naked oat {Avena nuda) in combination with at least one vegetable oil-containing material is disclosed. By feeding said dairy feed ingredient to cows, the butterfat content in milk is said to be reduced. The naked oat is used as raw or cooked in the feed ingredient which is mixed with other dairy feed before being fed to cattle.

[0007] Petit and Alary (1999, J Dairy Sci 82: 1004-1007) studied milk yield and composition of dairy cows fed naked oats, corn or a 50:50 mixture of naked oats and corn. All cows received also grass silage, protein supplement and a vitamin and mineral mix. Milk yield and composition, milk fat percentage, and milk protein percentage were found to be similar among treatments.

[0008] Due to the low energy content of oats, there is a need to improve utilization of oats in ruminant feeds. There is also a continuous need to increase the amount of milk production, the amount of total milk protein production and feed efficiency of ruminants.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0009] The invention is defined by the features of the independent claims. Some specific embodiments are defined in the dependent claims. [0010] According to a first aspect of the present invention, there is provided a ruminant feed comprising dehusked oats, a fatty acid composition and optionally other protein, carbohydrate and/or fat containing feed materials, auxiliary agents and additives used in feeds.

[0011] According to a second aspect of the present invention, there is provided a ruminant feed comprising dehusked oats and/or naked (huskless) oats, a fatty acid composition and optionally other protein, carbohydrate and/or fat containing feed materials, auxiliary agents and additives used in feeds.

[0012] According to a third aspect of the present invention, there is provided a method of preparing a ruminant feed mixture, comprising preparing a mixture by combining dehusked and/or naked oats, a fatty acid composition and optionally at least one other feed material, conditioning the mixture at a conditioning temperature over a period of conditioning time to provide the ruminant feed mixture, and optionally pressing the conditioned ruminant feed mixture into pellets.

[0013] According to a fourth aspect of the present invention, there is provided a method of increasing milk production of a ruminant, comprising providing a ruminant feed according to the invention to the ruminant for ingestion, and collecting milk from the ruminant after the ruminant has ingested the ruminant feed, wherein the amount of milk collected from the ruminant is higher than the amount of milk collected from the ruminant before the ruminant ingested the ruminant feed. [0014] According to a fifth aspect of the present invention, there is provided a method of increasing total protein production of a milk of a ruminant, comprising providing a ruminant feed according to the invention to the ruminant for ingestion, and collecting milk from the ruminant after the ruminant has ingested the feed.

[0015] According to a sixth aspect of the present invention, there is provided a method of feeding a ruminant, comprising providing a ruminant feed according to the invention to the ruminant for ingestion.

[0016] According to a seventh aspect of the present invention, there is provided a method of increasing utilization of feed protein and feed energy in a dairy cow, comprising providing a ruminant feed made by the method of the invention to the dairy cow for ingestion.

[0017] In one aspect of the invention, there is provided a ruminant feed prepared by the method of the invention.

[0018] In a further aspect of the invention, there is provided a method of increasing utilization of feed protein and feed energy in a dairy cow, comprising providing a ruminant feed of the invention to the dairy cow for ingestion.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0019] DEFINITIONS

[0020] In the present context, the term "dehusked oats" comprises dehulled or dehusked grains of the species Avena sativa. "Dehusked" or "dehulled" means that the crude fiber content in dehusked or dehulled oats is preferably at most 3%. Dehulling of oats may be achieved by various methods such as mechanical dehulling, for example by stone dehulling, impact dehulling and compressed air dehulling.

[0021] In the present context, the terms "naked oats", "huskless oats" and "hull-less oats" comprise grains of a strain of oat having a reduced husk and a higher oil content compared to the conventional oat Avena sativa. The naked oat has been characterised as either Avena nuda or Avena sativa var nuda.

[0022] Examples of a "ruminant" include but are not limited to lactating animals such as cattle, goats and sheep. Cattle may include dairy cows, which are preferred ruminants for the purposes of the invention.

[0023] A "ruminant feed mixture" or a "ruminant feed" comprises compositions suitable for feeding to ruminants, including complete feeds, compound feeds, concentrate feeds, supplementary compound feeds, supplements, boosters or the like.

[0024] A "compound feed" refers generally to an industrially produced feed mixture of at least two feed materials.

[0025] Within this disclosure, a "complete feed" refers to a compound feed containing all main nutrients needed for a daily ration, including also all the roughage needed by the ruminant.

[0026] By "concentrate feed" or "complementary feed" is referred to a compound feed which has a high content of certain substances but which is sufficient for a daily ration only if used in combination with other feed.

[0027] A "supplementary compound feed" or a "supplement" refers to nutritive materials which are added to a basic diet to supplement its deficiencies.

[0028] "Conditioning" generally refers to heat treatment of a feed material or a feed material mixture. Temperature, time and pressure may vary depending on the conditioning method and the material to be conditioned. Conditioning may include for example steam conditioning, long-term conditioning, short-term conditioning, expansion, extrusion or a combination of at least two thereof. Within this disclosure, "long-term conditioning" includes steam conditioning prior to bringing the feed material or the feed material mixture into a long-term conditioner. [0029] "Feed material" comprises common protein, carbohydrate and/or fat containing materials used in feeds. Such feed materials include for example grain (for example wheat, oat, barley) and oilseed meals (for example rapeseed meal or soyabean meal). The feed material can include for example sugar beet pulp, sugar cane, molasses, molassed sugar beet pulp, wheat, wheat bran, wheat middlings, barley, barley bran, barley middlings, oats, oat bran, oat middlings, grain hulls, soybean hulls, peanut hulls, brewery by-product, yeast derivatives, grasses, hay, seeds, fruit peels, fruit pulps, legumes, pulses, peas, beans, plant-based feedstuffs, corn, sorghum, millet, algae, or distilled dried grains (DDGS) with solubles. The feed material can also include for example soy meals, bean meals, pea meals, rapeseed meals, sunflower meals, coconut meals, olive meals, linseed meals, grapeseed meals, cottonseed meals, or mixtures thereof.

[0030] Feed materials can be in solid form, in liquid form, or as a mixture of both.

Examples of solid feed materials are i.a. grains and oilseed meals. Examples of liquid feed materials include i.a. molasses, propylene glycol, oils and glycerol. [0031] Additives include for example micronutrients and vitamins. Examples of auxiliary agents include for example pelletizing agents, such as lignin sulphates and/or colloidal clay.

[0032] Percentages are given by weight unless otherwise indicated.

[0033] The present invention generally relates to ruminant feed mixtures and ruminant feeds and to methods for making animal feeds that can be fed to ruminants. Considerable advantages are achieved by the present invention. Thus according to the invention ruminant feeds may be configured to improve various aspects of milk production in the ruminants, such as the amount of milk and protein production, utilization of feed protein and feed energy by the ruminant, especially the utilization of dehusked oats in ruminant feeds.

[0034] A ruminant feed, described herein, may improve utilization of feed energy and feed protein by the ruminant. A ruminant feed of the invention especially improves utilization of energy and/or protein content of a ruminant feed mixture comprising dehusked oats. A ruminant feed mixture of the invention comprising dehusked or huskless oats and a fatty acid composition and processed according to the invention increases milk production more than calculated based on feed energy values. [0035] Furthermore, the protein content of a ruminant feed mixture can be lowered without a negative effect on the amount of milk production when the ruminant feed mixture comprises dehusked oats and a fatty acid composition and is processed according to the invention. This surprising effect improves profitability of milk production. As utilization of protein (nitrogen) is improved, significant environmental effects are also included, such as lower production of methane.

[0036] A ruminant feed according to the invention comprises dehusked oats, a fatty acid composition and optionally other protein, carbohydrate and/or fat containing feed ingredients, auxiliary agents and additives used in feeds. [0037] Another ruminant feed according to the invention comprises naked oats and/or dehusked oats, a fatty acid composition and optionally other protein, carbohydrate and/or fat containing feed ingredients, auxiliary agents and additives used in feeds.

[0038] Dehusked oats comprises dehusked or dehulled grains of traditional oats

(Avena sativa). Dehulling of oats may be achieved by various methods such as mechanical dehulling, for example by stone dehulling, impact dehulling and compressed air dehulling. These methods vary in efficiency and kernel recovery depends upon the dehulling conditions.

[0039] The oat grains are milled, ground or flaked before they are added to the ruminant feed mixture according to the invention. [0040] Dehusked oats contains approximately 7-9% fat, 14.5-16.5% protein and about 2% fiber, based on dry weight. Corresponding figures of traditional oats that has not been dehulled are 5-6% fat, 12-13% protein and 10-15% fiber, based on dry weight.

[0041] Naked oats or huskless oats comprises grains of the species Avena nuda or

Avena sativa var nuda. Naked oats contains approximately the same amounts of fat, protein and fiber as dehusked traditional oats.

[0042] Both dehusked oats and naked oats or their combination can be used in the ruminant feed of the present invention. However, dehusked oats is preferred.

[0043] The amount of dehusked or naked oats in the ruminant feed of the invention is 10 - 90% by weight of the ruminant feed, for example 10 - 60%, 15 - 70%, 30 - 50%, 50 - 85%, or 10 - 70%, depending on the feed type and the other ingredients of the feed. [0044] The fatty acid composition comprises a fatty acid component and optionally a surfactant. In some embodiments, the fatty acid composition melts at not less than 40°C, preferably at not less than 60°C, and has a iodine value not greater than 4. In some embodiments, the fatty acid component includes at least 90% of a saturated fatty acid compound by weight, preferably at least 98% of a saturated fatty acid compound by weight. The fatty acid component may also fully consist of saturated fatty acids. A preferred saturated fatty acid compound is palmitic acid compound, even more preferably free palmitic acid. In some embodiments, the fatty acid component includes at least 90% of palmitic acid compound by weight, preferably at least 98% of a palmitic acid compound by weight. In some embodiments, the fatty acid component consists essentially of a palmitic acid compound and any other saturated fatty acid, preferably a stearic acid compound.

[0045] The palmitic acid compound includes free palmitic acid, palmitate triglyceride, sodium palmitate, calcium palmitate, magnesium palmitate, or ammonium palmitate. The stearic acid compound includes free stearic acid, stearate triglyceride, sodium stearate, calcium stearate, magnesium stearate, or ammonium stearate.

[0046] The optional surfactant or emulsifier in the fatty acid composition is preferably selected from the group consisting of non-ionic surfactants. The optional emulsifier may include, without limitation, lecithin, soy lecithin, cephalin, castor oil ethoxylate, sorbitan monooleate, tallow ethoxylate, lauric acid, polyethylene glycol, polyglycerol ester, sorbitan ester, polyethylene glycol ester, sugar ester, monoglyceride, acetylated monoglyceride, or lactylated monoglyceride, polyoxyethylene stearate, polysorbate, polyoxyethylene sorbitan monooleate, polyoxyethylene sorbitan monopalmitate, polyoxyethylene sorbitan monostearate, polyoxyethylene sorbitan tristearate, ammonium phosphatides, sodium or potassium or calcium salts of fatty acids, magnesium salts of fatty acid, mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids, acetic acid esters of mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids, citric acid esters of mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids, mono- and diacetyl tartaric acid esters of mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids, mono- and diacetyl tartaric acid esters of mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids, acetic acid esters of mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids, tartaric acid esters of mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids, sucrose esters of fatty acids, polyglycerol esters of fatty acids, polyglycerol polyricinoleate, propane- 1,2-diol esters of fatty acids, sodium stearoyl-2- lactylate, calcium stearoyl-2-lactylate, sorbitan monostearate, sorbitan tristearate, sorbitan monolaurate, sorbitan monooleate, sorbitan monopalmitate, or any derivative or combination thereof. A polysorbate or a polyoxyethylene sorbitan monooleate are preferred emulsifiers.

[0047] The fatty acid composition is present in the ruminant feed according to the invention in an amount of 0.1 to 90%, for example in an amount of 0.5 to 3%, 1 to 5%, 5 to 8%, 8 to 30%, or 30 to 90%, depending on the feed type and the other ingredients of the ruminant feed.

[0048] If the fatty acid composition comprises a fatty acid component and an emulsifier, the ratio of the emulsifier and the fatty acid component in the fatty acid composition is preferably 5:95. [0049] One embodiment of the invention is a complete feed (i.e. a ruminant feed which contains also all the roughage needed by the ruminant) comprising 0.5 - 3%, preferably about 2%, of the fatty acid composition. The amount of dehusked or naked oats in a complete feed according to the invention is preferably 10 - 60%.

[0050] A further embodiment of the invention is a compound feed comprising 1 - 5%, preferably about 3%, of the fatty acid composition. This compound feed preferably has a protein content between 10 and 25% and can be fed as the only concentrate to ruminants, in addition to roughage (i.e. straw, hay, corn silage, grass silage or alike). The amount of dehusked or huskless oats is preferably 15 - 70%.

[0051] Another embodiment of the invention is a compound feed (concentrate) comprising 5 - 8%, preferably about 6%, of the fatty acid composition. This compound feed preferably has a protein content between 20 and 30%. It can be fed together with another compound feed or together with another concentrate, such as cereal grains or feed materials substituting cereal grains. The amount of dehusked or huskless oats is preferably 30 - 50%. [0052] A still further embodiment of the invention is a compound feed (concentrate) comprising 8 - 30%, preferably about 15%, of the fatty acid composition. This compound feed preferably has a protein content between 10 and 40%. The amount of dehusked or huskless oats is preferably 50 - 85%. [0053] Another embodiment of the invention is a supplementary compound feed comprising 30 - 90%, preferably about 60%, of the fatty acid composition. The amount of dehusked or huskless oats may vary from 10 to 70%.

[0054] As stated above, by means of the present invention the protein content of a ruminant feed mixture can be lowered without a negative effect on the amount of milk production. When the ruminant feed mixture comprises dehusked oats and a fatty acid composition and is processed according to the invention, the protein content of the ruminant feed can be 2 - 6 percent units lower compared to a corresponding ruminant feed which does not contain dehusked oats and a fatty acid composition as defined in the present invention.

[0055] When the protein content of a conventional compound feed is for example

18%, in a corresponding compound feed according to the invention the protein content can be lowered for example to 14% without negative effects on milk production and milk protein content. This means considerable savings in production costs. [0056] The protein content can be lowered by decreasing the proportion of main protein source(s) and/or by replacing other feed ingredients with corresponding feed ingredients having a lower protein content.

[0057] A method of making a ruminant feed mixture includes mixing ground

(milled, flaked) dehusked and/or huskless oats with a fatty acid composition and optionally with at least one other feed material. Depending on the feed material, the at least one other feed material may be ground before being combined with dehusked or huskless oats. Dehusked or huskless oats may be combined and mixed with the fatty acid composition and with said at least one other feed material in any order. Said at least one other feed material may include one or several, such as two, three, or four, components. Mixing may be carried out in a conventional batch mixer. The components are preferably in solid form but in some embodiments the mixture may comprise at least one liquid.

[0058] The mixture comprising dehusked or huskless oats, a fatty acid composition and optional other feed material is subjected to conditioning at a conditioning temperature over a period of conditioning time to provide the ruminant feed mixture. [0059] Conditioning may include steam conditioning, long-term conditioning, short- term conditioning, expansion, extrusion or a combination of at least two thereof. One preferred conditioning method comprises steam conditioning followed by long-term or short-term conditioning.

[0060] In some embodiments, the mixture comprising dehusked oats and other feed material is steam-conditioned to a ruminant feed mixture. In some embodiments, the mixture is first steam-conditioned in order to increase moisture content of the mixture to at most 15%, or to at most 20%, and then the steam-conditioned mixture is optionally further heated to allow absorption of hot steam into the powdery feed particles. If the mixture is extruded, the moisture content of the mixture may be higher, for example at most 30%.

[0061] In some embodiments, the conditioning time is in total from about 2 minutes to about 30 minutes. In some embodiments, the conditioning time is from about 3 minutes to about 20 minutes. In some embodiments, the conditioning time is from about 3 minutes to about 10 minutes. In still further embodiments, the conditioning time is from about 3 minutes to about 5 minutes. Said conditioning time includes all the conditioning steps, i.e. for example both the steam-conditioning and short-term conditioning if such are used. [0062] The conditioning temperature is for example from about 65°C to about 99°C, preferably at least about 70°C and at most 85°C. In one embodiment, the temperature of the mixture is approximately 90-100°C during steam conditioning of few (1-2 min) minutes, followed by optional additional heating of the mixture at about 70-90 °C for a period of at least 1 minute, for example up to 3 to 5 minutes, to allow proper absorption of hot steam into the feed particles. After steam conditioning the mixture may be maintained at a temperature it acquired during steam conditioning, it may be heated further or it may be allowed to cool.

[0063] In one embodiment, the ruminant feed mixture is conditioned at a temperature of from about 65°C to about 99°C for up to 3 minutes. In another embodiment the ruminant feed mixture is conditioned at a temperature of from about 65 °C to about 85°C for up to 5 minutes.

[0064] After conditioning, the ruminant feed mixture may be formed into pellets but it can also be in the form of granulas or meal. A pellet form is preferred. The ruminant feed mixture may be formed into pellets by pressing or extruding, preferably by pressing. The system may include a pellet presser or in some cases an extruder/expander, in connection with the conditioning vessel. After the pellets have been formed, they may be cooled to an ambient temperature.

[0065] In one embodiment, the method of the invention is performed in the following way: Dry feed materials are mixed together, and possible liquid raw materials are added with mixing. The obtained mixture is heat treated by adding steam (e.g. 3-6% or about 5% steam of the feed mixture) to increase the temperature and moisture to a suitable level (e.g. to a temperature of from 70° to even 110°C and e.g. 13-20%, in some cases even 30%, preferably 14-15% moisture content). Mixing can be discontinued when all components have been added and the feed mixture is even. Heat treatment may be continued by keeping the temperature of the feed mixture at 60 - 90 °C, preferably at about 80°C. The total time of heat treatment may vary from few minutes to about 30 minutes, preferably from about 3 minutes to 20 minutes, for example from 5 to 10 minutes. Finally the feed mixture may be pelletized but it may also be only dried without pelletizing. The pellets may further be crushed to granulas or milled to meal. [0066] The feed prepared according to the invention provides the ruminant with sufficient amounts of nutrients to achieve the desired advantageous effects, if the amount of said feed is such that the daily amount of dehusked oat provided to the ruminant is from at least 50 g/kg milk up to 300 g/kg milk, for example 75-250 g/ kg milk or 50-100 g/ kg milk, preferably 100-200 g /kg milk ("kg milk" refers to the amount of milk the ruminant produces per day).

[0067] Alternatively, the sufficient amount of the feed prepared according to the invention is such that the amount of oat fat provided to the ruminant is 5-15 g/ kg milk, preferably about 10 g/kg milk. The preferred amount of oat protein provided to the ruminant in the feed prepared according to the invention is 10-35 g/ kg milk, preferably about 25 g/kg milk. The preferred amount of oat fiber provided to the ruminant in the feed prepared according to the invention is below 10 g/ kg milk, preferably below 5 g/ kg milk.

[0068] It is of relevance that dehusked oats or naked (huskless) oats is provided to the ruminant as a compound feed mixture processed according to the method of the invention. [0069] In one embodiment the feed material also comprises added vitamins, minerals, trace elements, amino acids, amino acid derivatives, and/or glucogenic precursors.

[0070] In a preferred embodiment the feed material comprises added amino acids or amino acid derivatives. A ruminant feed mixture comprising dehusked oats and a mixture of added amino acids or amino acid derivatives surprisingly increased milk production of a ruminant when the ruminant feed mixture was processed according to the invention.

[0071] Added amino acids may include any combination of common, uncommon, essential amino acids, non-essential amino acids, including, without limitation, carnitine, histidine, alanine, isoleucine, arginine, leucine, asparagine, lysine, aspartic acid, methionine, cysteine, phenylalanine, glutamic acid, threonine, glutamine, tryptophan, glycine, valine, ornithine, proline, selenocysteine, serine, tyrosine, and/or any derivative thereof. The amino acid may generally be included in the ruminant feed mixture to provide a nutritional aid in various physiological processes in the ruminant, such as, for example, increasing muscle mass, providing energy, or aiding in recovery. In some embodiments, the amino acid may be present in a premix composition. The daily dosage of added amino acids may comprise 5-50 g/d of each individual amino acid or 100 - 500 g/d of an amino acid mixture. The most potential amino acids are methionine, lysine and histidine. [0072] Vitamins may include one or any combination of vitamins including without limitation, vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin C, and vitamin K. Specific examples of vitamin B include thiamine (vitamin Bi ), riboflavin (vitamin B2), niacin

(vitamin B3), pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), pyridoxine (vitamin Bg), biotin (vitamin B7), folic acid (vitamin B9), cobalamin (vitamin B ^), and choline (vitamin Bp). The amount of vitamins in the ruminant feed mixture may vary.

[0073] Non-limiting examples of a glucogenic precursor may include at least one of glycerol, propylene glycol, molasses, sodium propionate, glycerine, propanediol, calcium propionate, propionic acid, lactic acid, octanoic acid, steam-exploded sawdust, steam-exploded wood chips, steam-exploded wheat straw, algae, algae meal, microalgae, or combinations thereof. The glucogenic precursor may generally be included in the ruminant feed mixture to provide an energy source to the ruminant that prevents gluconeogenesis from occurring within the ruminant's body. The amount of glucogenic precursor in the ruminant feed mixture may vary.

[0074] It is to be understood that the embodiments of the invention disclosed are not limited to the particular structures, process steps, or materials disclosed herein, but are extended to equivalents thereof as would be recognized by those ordinarily skilled in the relevant arts. It should also be understood that terminology employed herein is used for the purpose of describing particular embodiments only and is not intended to be limiting.

[0075] Reference throughout this specification to one embodiment or an embodiment means that a particular feature, structure, or characteristic described in connection with the embodiment is included in at least one embodiment of the present invention. Thus, appearances of the phrases "in one embodiment" or "in an embodiment" in various places throughout this specification are not necessarily all referring to the same embodiment. Where reference is made to a numerical value using a term such as, for example, about or substantially, the exact numerical value is also disclosed. [0076] As used herein, a plurality of items, structural elements, compositional elements, and/or materials may be presented in a common list for convenience. However, these lists should be construed as though each member of the list is individually identified as a separate and unique member. Thus, no individual member of such list should be construed as a de facto equivalent of any other member of the same list solely based on their presentation in a common group without indications to the contrary. In addition, various embodiments and example of the present invention may be referred to herein along with alternatives for the various components thereof. It is understood that such embodiments, examples, and alternatives are not to be construed as de facto equivalents of one another, but are to be considered as separate and autonomous representations of the present invention.

[0077] Furthermore, the described features, structures, or characteristics may be combined in any suitable manner in one or more embodiments. In the following description, numerous specific details are provided, such as examples of amounts, temperatures, etc., to provide a thorough understanding of embodiments of the invention. One skilled in the relevant art will recognize, however, that the invention can be practiced without one or more of the specific details, or with other methods, components, materials, etc. In other instances, well-known structures, materials, or operations are not shown or described in detail to avoid obscuring aspects of the invention.

[0078] The verbs "to comprise" and "to include" are used in this document as open limitations that neither exclude nor require the existence of also un-recited features. The features recited in depending claims are mutually freely combinable unless otherwise explicitly stated. Furthermore, it is to be understood that the use of "a" or "an", that is, a singular form, throughout this document does not exclude a plurality.

ACRONYMS LIST

DM Dry matter

ECM Energy corrected milk

EXPERIMENTAL Example 1

[0079] Two compound feed mixtures were prepared and processed by conditioning.

Both feed mixtures contained the same ingredients except that in the control feed mixture oats was traditional oats (Avena sativa) and in the test feed mixture it was dehusked traditional oats.

Table 1. Components of the feed mixtures (Control feed: oat; Test feed: dehusked

Component %

Oat/Dehusked oat 50

Molassed beet pulp 10.2

Wheat bran meal 10.2

Sugarbeet molasses 5

Rapeseed meal 16

Soyabean meal 5.7

Vitamins, minerals, trace elements 2.9 [0080] The components of the feed were mixed. The mixture was steam-conditioned by adding approximately 5% of 100°C steam, raising the moisture level of the blended mixture to at most 15%. After steam addition the mixture was conditioned in a long-term conditioner for about 20-30 minutes. The output temperature of the feed mixture was about 85°C. The feed mixture was pressed into pellets.

Example 2

[0081] A feeding test was started before parturition by feeding 4 kg of the feed mixtures prepared according to Example 1 to the control group and to the test group before parturition date. The control group and the test group consisted of dairy cows. [0082] The cows were fed the maximum amount of compound feed for 3 weeks postpartum. Based on the feeding level, the cows were further divided into two groups. At a higher feeding level, the control group received compound feed at a level of 14.6 kg DM/d and the test group at a level of 14.0 kg DM/d. At a lower feeding level, the intake of compound feed was 11.0 kg DM/d for the control group and 10.6 kg DM/d for the test group.

[0083] Total energy intake of the control group was 5.85 MJ/d higher than that of the test group in those groups which had the lower feeding level. At the higher feeding level, the total energy intake of the control group was 9.3 MJ higher than that of the test group. Table 2. Milk production and milk composition at the higher feeding level

Control Test

Milk kg/d 37.0 40.5

ECM kg 36.1 39.3

Fat % 3.84 3.78

Protein % 3.25 3.27

Lactose % 4.96 4.99

DMI kg 23.6 22.2 ECM kg / kg DMI 1.53 1.77

(+ 15.7%)

ECM kg / MJ 0.1336 0.150 (+12.3%)

Protein intake g/d 4140 4080

Milk protein g/d 1190 1310

Milk protein/protein intake 0.287 0.321 (+11.8 %)

[0084] Based on the above figures, energy utilization at the higher feeding level the test group was 12.3% higher than in the control group. Test group also had 11.8% higher protein utilization than the control group.

Table 3. Milk production and milk composition at the lower feeding level

Control Test

Milk kg 35.2 38.2

ECM kg 35.0 37.1

Fat % 3.98 3.93

Protein % 3.18 3.19

Lactose % 4.94 4.92

DMI, kg 21,1 20,1

ECM, kg/kg DMI 1,66 1,85 (+11,4 %)

ECM kg/MJ 0,1459 0,1585 (+8,6 %)

Protein intake, g/d 3630 3590 Milk protein, g/d 1110 1190

Milk protein/protein intake 0,306 0,3315 (+8,3 %)

[0085] At the higher feeding level, the test feed increased the amount of energy corrected milk by 3.2 kg/d compared to the control group, although based on the energy intake the difference should have been 1.8 kg ECM more for the control group. Thus, the effect of the test feed on milk production was surprisingly 5 kg ECM/d more than was expected based on the milk production of the control group. Even at the lower feeding level the difference in milk production was 3 kg more in the test group than in the control group.

Example 3 [0086] Three compound feed mixtures with the following compositions were prepared in accordance with the manufacturing process disclosed in Example 1:

Feed 1 (protein content 18% of dry matter):

Barley 35%

Wheat 35%

Rapeseed meal 15%

Soya protein 3%

Molassed beet pulp 4.95%

Molasses 4%

+ vitamins, minerals, trace elements

Feed 2 (protein content 18% of dry matter):

Dehusked oats (Avena sativa) 70%

Rapeseed meal 15%

Molas sed beet pulp 7.95%

Molasses 4%

+ vitamins, minerals, trace elements

Feed 3 (protein content 14% of dry matter):

Dehusked oats (Avena sativa) 70% Molassed beet pulp 22.90%

Molasses 4%

+ vitamins, minerals, trace elements

[0087] Feed 1 and Feed 2 had a normal protein level (18% in DM), the difference between Feeds 1 and 2 being in the composition of grain. In Feed 1, grain consisted of

50% of barley and 50% of wheat. The grain in Feed 2 was dehusked oat (Avena sativa). In Feed 3, the grain was also dehusked oats but the protein level of the feed was lower (14% in DM). 7 kg of the feed mixtures were provided to dairy cows which had been divided into three groups. Each feeding period lasted 21 d. [0088] Results are shown in Table 4 below.

Table 4. Milk production and milk composition

[0089] The results show that by using dehusked oats in the feed processed according to the method of the invention, the protein content of the feed could be significantly lowered without a negative effect on milk production. The processing thus improves utilization of protein of dehusked oats.

Example 4

[0090] In a field study with 72 dairy cows, the efficacy of a combination of dehulled oats and palmitic acid was studied. On a grass silage based diet, four different compound feeds were fed. The compound feeds were:

[0091] Compound feed 1 based on wheat and barley. Crude protein content 18%:

Barley 25%

Molassed beet pulp 20%

Sugarbeet molasses 5%

Wheat 25%

Rapeseed meal 14%

Soyabean meal 8.4%

+ vitamins, minerals, trace elements

[0092] Compound feed 2 based on dehulled oats. Crude protein content 18%:

Molassed beet pulp 21 %

Sugarbeet molasses 5%

Fatty acid composition 3%

Rapeseed meal 14%

Soyabean meal 4.5%

Dehulled oats 50%

+ vitamins, minerals, trace elements

[0093] Compound feed 3 based on wheat and barley with palmitic acid supplementation. Crude protein content 18%: Barley 25%

Molas sed beet pulp 16.3%

Sugarbeet molasses 5% Wheat 25%

Fatty acid composition 3%

Rapeseed meal 14%

Soyabean meal 9.1%

+ vitamins, minerals, trace elements

[0094] Compound feed 4 based on dehulled oats with palmitic acid supplementation.

Crude protein content 16%:

Molassed beet pulp 25.4%

Sugarbeet molasses 5%

Fatty acid composition 3%

Rapeseed meal 14%

Dehulled oats 50%

+ vitamins, minerals, trace elements

[0095] The dairy cows were fed grass silage ad libitum. The grass silage intake was recorded on a herd level and was calculated per head by dividing the total grass silage intake by number of heads in the herd. Compound feeds were fed individually.

[0096] In accordance with the earlier studies, in this experiment inclusion of palmitic acid in the diet increased milk volume and especially milk fat content. As expected, replacing wheat and barley with dehulled oats increased milk yield but slightly decreased the fat and protein content in milk. Surprisingly, the low protein compound feed containing dehulled oats together with palmitic acid increased both the milk yield and fat and protein percentage. As a consequence, the utilization of nitrogen was increased by 18.6 %.

[0097] Detailed results of this field study are shown in Table 5.

Table 5. Results of a field study with 72 cows

Feed 1 Feed 2 Feed 3 Feed 4

Concentrate intake, 12.0 12.0 12.0 12.0

kg DM/d Grass silage intake, 11.8 11.8 11.8 11.8

kg DM/d

Milk yield, kg/d 36.5 38.3 38.1 39.6

Milk fat content, % 4.32 4.19 4.51 4.50

Milk protein content, 3.30 3.25 3.32 3.32

%

Protein intake, g/d 4253 4253 4253 3977

Protein yield, g/d 1188 1245 1265 1315

Nitrogen utilization, 27.9 29.3 29.7 33.1

%

[0098] While the foregoing examples are illustrative of the principles of the present invention in one or more particular applications, it will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art that numerous modifications in form, usage and details of implementation can be made without the exercise of inventive faculty, and without departing from the principles and concepts of the invention. Accordingly, it is not intended that the invention be limited, except as by the claims set forth below.