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The interest of cod liver oil in farming

3 March 2021
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Cod liver oil is traditionally used in dairy cows feed in order to refill energy and vitamin intake (flushing). A supplementation of 3 to 5 days increases performance when preparing cattle for breeding. In addition to the beneficial effects on reproduction, research on cod liver oil has also highlighted recognized virtues such as stimulation of local immunity thanks to its strong vitamin A content, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action, stimulation of the appetite and improved growth performance in the veal.

A SPECIAL COMPOSITION

The cod liver oil selected by Difagri is very rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids (22 % on average), especially in Ω3 (omega-3). Among these Ω3 are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) up to 17 % on average. These two molecules are the forms that can be used by the organism. Cod liver oil has been used for centuries to treat diseases and as a dietary supplement to help prevent deficiencies. The oil is obtained from fresh cod livers: 

Composition

Cod liver oil

Linseed oil

Total content in Ω3

22

56

Available EPA and DHA quantity (in g per 100g of oil)

17

8.4

COD LIVER OIL FOR REPRODUCTION

Prostaglandins are rarely a problem in the regulation of the ovarian cycle and bovine reproduction. In contrast, omega-3 are also precursors of progesterone. The latter plays a fundamental role in maintaining the gestation and therefore on the success rate of insemination. It improves the quality of ovulation by increasing follicle sensitivity to LH. Finally, progesterone has also a favorable effect on the expression of heat and thus facilitates their detection.

COD LIVER OIL FOR ANIMAL HEALTH

A recent study has shown that cod liver oil has interesting effects on the health of dairy cows by reducing their oxidative stress (and therefore improving their resistance to diseases) and increasing their sensitivity to insulin (and therefore decreases the risk of energy deficency). This study consisted in administrating cod liver oil during 6 weeks (3 weeks before calving, 3 weeks after) to cows diagnosed at start with subclinical ketosis (presence of ketone bodies at a concentration generating economic losses).

COD LIVER OIL VS. FISH OIL

Do not confuse cod liver oil with fish oil! Compositions are very different and we can not expect the same effects. The source of cod liver oil must be well identified and safe to ensure that the levels of heavy metals and PCBs are compliant and are not likely to cause adverse effects. The fact that cod liver oil is emulsifield does not make it more available to the body. The absorption of fatty acids is different from soluble molecules in water. This practise only increases the amount of water in the product.

FARMER’S TESTIMONIAL ON THE USE OF COD LIVER OIL IN SUCKLING CATTLE

Use

“It is my son who discovered the use of cod liver oil during an internship with an organic farmer. This farmer distributed the oil directly on the hay and the cows consumed the cod liver oil easily.”

The benefits

“On average, we do 3 cod liver oil cures per year:
– At bringing the cattle in
– During the winter
– Before going out to pasture.

The cows have a stronger immune system, they have a better body condition and a shinier coat since using this solution. We better monitor and have better reproductive results. It also gives them a « boost » after deworming.”

Profitability

“We do a cure of 280 ml of pure cod liver oil/head/day for 5 days, that is to say a total of 1.4L cod liver oil per head per cure. We are aware that this is a high dose and that it represents an investment (1 drum of 200 L of cod liver oil for 139 LSU per treatment) but for us it is a very effective product and is profitable. We do the treatment in the mixing bowl. There is no concern about palatability and no refusal. The animals do not make difference between a ration with or without cod liver oil.

We also use cod liver oil in calves, by incorporating it a mixture of hay, baleage and straw. The calves have a better coat and are more vigorous. We are convinced of the benefits of cod liver oil. Even we do take a cod liver oil cure from time to time.”

GAEC BRETAGNE and EARL LA CROIX DU CHATEAU to JOUX LA VILLE (89)

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