The core of any ruminant diet is the forage. Bugs in the rumen break down fibrous feeds that simple-stomached animals, like humans, cannot. This process is a fermentation, just like silage making and take place without oxygen. Rumen bugs have the ability to multiply rapidly but factors like palatability, acid load, protein balance or insufficient available energy can reduce their growth.
Forage and Cereal for Cow Health
Mechanical issues like fiber length, sorting, slug feeding and trough space will also influence the rumen. Anti-nutritionals, like mycotoxins, nitrates, clostridia and many other factors need to be addressed.
More digestible forage means higher production for a given amount of concentrate. A better forage:concentrate ratio can be achieved and this is beneficial for cow health.