A Meta-analysis Describing the Effects of the Essential oils Blend Agolin Ruminant on Performance, Rumen Fermentation and Methane Emissions in Dairy Cows †
Alejandro Belanche, Charles J. Newbold, Diego P. Morgavi, Alex Bach, Beatrice Zweifel and David R. Yáñez-Ruiz
There is an increasing pressure to identify feed additives which increase productivity or decrease methane emissions. This paper aims to elucidate the effects of supplementing a specific essential oils blend Agolin® Ruminant on the productivity of dairy cows in comparison to non-treated animals. A total of 23 in vivo studies were identified in which Agolin was supplemented at 1 g/d per cow; then a meta-analysis was performed to determine the response ratio on milk yield, rumen fermentation, methane emissions and health. Results indicated that an adaptation period of at least 4 weeks of treatment is required. Whereas short-term studies showed minor and inconsistent effects of Agolin, long-term studies (>4 weeks of treatment) revealed that Agolin supplementation increases milk yield (+3.6%), fat and protein corrected milk (+4.1%) and feed efficiency (+4.4%) without further changes in milk composition and feed intake. Long-term treatment also decreased methane production per day (−8.8%), per dry matter intake (−12.9%) and per fat and protein corrected milk yield (−9.9%) without changes in rumen fermentation pattern. In conclusion, despite the mode of action is still unclear and the small number of studies considered, these findings show that Agolin represents an encouraging alternative to improve productivity in dairy cows.