Summer heat stress in cows – better milk quality with Anco FIT

Summer heat stress in cows is known to reduce milk yields and milk quality, reducing the profitability of dairy farms, which is why it is important to find ways to effectively manage it on farms.

Higher producing cows are more sensitive to heat stress

Lactating dairy cows prefer ambient temperatures of between 5 and 25 °C, the “thermoneutral” zone. At ambient temperatures above 26°C, the cow reaches a point where she can no longer cool herself adequately and enters heat stress. Whereas the upper critical limit of the thermoneutral zone for dairy cattle is between 25 °C and 26 °C, the, the temperature-humidity index (THI) is below 72.

Higher producing cows, and thus multiparous cows, are more sensitive to the effects of heat stress compared to lower producing or primiparous cows. As milk yield increases from 35 to 45 kg/d, the heat stress threshold is decreased by 5°C. Recent studies show that modern cows become heat-stressed starting at an average THI of 68 with the levels of stress increasing with increasing THI values.

Higher-producing cows exhibit more signs of heat stress than lower-producing cows because higher-producing cows generate more heat as they eat more feed for higher production. They must get rid of the extra heat generated due to metabolizing more nutrients in the feed. As a result, much of the reduction seen in milk production is due to lower feed intake by the cow. Feed intake in lactating dairy cows starts to decline at around 25°C and drops more rapidly above 30°C.  High producing dairy cows also have a higher metabolic heat load produced through processes such as lactogenesis and milk secretion. Consequently, as milk production and metabolic heat production rise genetically, heat stress will increasingly limit the expression of genetic potential in the future.

The stage in the lactation curve at which the cow experiences heat stress is another important factor for the total lactation yield. Cows are less able to cope with heat stress during early lactation and heat stress has the biggest impact during the first 60 days of lactation. This is because cows are in negative energy balance and make up for the deficit by mobilizing body reserves in this early part of lactation. Catabolic processes are associated with heat production.

Summer heat stress in cows affects milk quality

Milk quality is important for producers to earn monetary bonuses through lower somatic cell counts and increased butterfat/protein, increasing farm profitability.

Controlling somatic cell count (SCC) is a year-round challenge for most dairy producers, and hot humid weather intensifies this challenge. Heat stress generally increases the production of free radicals or reactive oxygen species (ROS). This can lead to oxidative stress, which again has been associated with increased SCC in milk.

Results from studies on the impact of heat stress on milk components are inconsistent, however several studies have reported reduced milk fat and protein levels in response to heat stress. Some researches argue that fat yield decreases could be explained by a decrease in forage intake with low fiber levels, and protein decreases could be attributed to reduced DMI and energy intake when the animal is under heat stress. Other research has shown that milk fat depression during heat stress can be linked to depressed rumen health. Therefore, supporting optimal rumen function by nutritional means may help to reduce the negative impact of heat stress on milk fat.

Strategies to mitigate the negative effects of summer heat stress in cows

Cool water

It is highly important that cows are provided cool water during periods of high temperature. Water is the primary nutrient needed to make milk and cows drink up to 50 percent more water when the temperature-humidity index is above 80. Water should be easily accessible to cows and located in a position such that cows do not have to cross areas of hot sun.

Commercial trial with Anco FIT in cows during summer heat

Gut agility activators, such as Anco FIT and Anco FIT Farm are designed to support the cow to adapt to challenges including heat stress more efficiently by minimising stress reactions including oxidative stress at the cellular level, shifts in the rumen balance and reduced feed intake.

Feedback from a commercial dairy farm with 750 cows in Germany during months where temperatures were recorded above 26°C included that SCC over a period of 3 months were reduced by 13% and milk fat and protein levels increased by 3%. Furthermore, treatments for high SCC were reduced from 5 treatments/week to 1-2 treatments per week. Cows were fed a ration based on corn silage, grass silage, soya and grains, where Anco FIT was added at 30g/cow/day and received a milking concentrate in the milking robot.

It was concluded that feeding Anco FIT to dairy cows during hotter months helped the cows to cope with the heat better and reduce some of the stress reactions that would otherwise impact milk quality and cow wellbeing.

Related articles

How some cows can give heat stress the cold shoulder

How do I calculate the temperature humidity index (THI)?

Heat stress in sows – better lactation performance with Anco FIT

Heat stress in pigs – nutritional interventions that work

Heat stress in sows – Better lactation performance with Anco FIT

Heat stress in sows can compromise lactation performance, as it generally reduces feed intake in sows. The gut agility activator Anco FIT was tested in sow feed for maintaining sow lactation performance despite heat stress during the summer months in Argentina.

Heat stress in sows

In sows, temperatures above 25c can cause heat stress. In lactating sows this is generally associated with reduced feed intake, resulting in reduced milk production, with the knock-on effect on piglet growth. The modern lactating sow is particularly at risk of heat stress, as it has been heavily selected for increased productivity including litter size and litter weaning weight, which comes with increased heat production.

Trial design

The trial was carried out on a commercial farm with 1500 sows in Cordoba, Argentina. The trial period was during the summer months in Argentina from February 29th to 9th of April. Temperatures ranged between 26 and 29C, with a humidity of around 75% and it was expected that sows were experiencing some degree of heat stress.

100 sows were split into 2 groups: 1) control group fed corn-soybean diet, specified to sow requirements in gestation and lactation 2) trial group fed the control diet supplemented with 1 kg of Anco FIT per ton of feed. The trial started two weeks before farrowing and ended with the weaning of pigs at 21 days of lactation.

Cross-fostering was performed within 24 h post-farrowing and litters of piglets were adjusted to 12-13 piglets within the same treatment. The average daily feed intake of the sows during lactation was recorded. Piglets received no creep feed during the lactation period.


Sow feed intake in lactation was significantly increased in Anco FIT vs control sows (5.29kg/d vs 4.39 kg/d, P<0.01). Piglet mortality was significantly reduced in sows fed Anco FIT and litter weight gains significantly increased vs control (42.26kg vs 36.55kg, P<0.01).


Adding Anco FIT to sow diets at 1kg/t increased sow feed intake and lactation performance under summer heat stress in commercial sow farm conditions.

Related articles

Anco FIT product line now available in more than 30 countries

Heat stress in pigs – nutritional interventions that work

Don’t let summer heat stress spoil poultry appetite

Sow line differences in heat stress tolerance expressed in reproductive performance traits

Dairy farming resilience – 3 reasons to keep your cows agile

The competitive environment for dairy farming requires farm management strategies for resilient production systems that can recover from or adapt to changes in environmental, social or economic conditions. There is probably no time like the current Covid 19 crisis that proves just how important resilience is for production systems.

Resilience applies to the farm, but also to individual animals. Several research programs in different parts of the world are investigating ways of genetically improving resilience in dairy cows. Resilience in the cow is determined by her adaptive capacity, which is the mechanism of the cow that empowers her to cope with internal or external disturbances, stressors or with changes in the environment.

Here are the top reasons for finding ways to Improve the adaptive capacity In dairy cows or In other words to keep dairy cows agile.

1) Consistent milk productivity and quality

Common stress reactions to stressors in the feed and in the environment, are oxidative stress, inflammation at the cellular level, shifts in rumen efficiency and reduction in feed intake. They will all lead to wasted energy and increased maintenance energy or a reduction in energy intake, which again will have consequences for milk yield and quality. Improving the adaptive capacity of dairy cows, will help to reduce the stress reactions In response to challenges and stressors and hence the Impact they can have on milk production and quality. As a result there are less fluctuations and less deviations from expected milk productivity and quality, which also means a more stable Income from cows.

2) Transition management in dairy farming

The transition period is a demanding time for dairy cows and when they fail to adapt physiologically to the demands of calving and the onset of milk production, the resulting metabolic stress leads to transition cow disorders with negative consequences for milk production, reproduction efficiency and longevity. Improving the adaptive capacity in dairy cows can enable the dairy cow to weather the transition period more successfully.

3) Shortages in qualified labour for dairy farming

One of the biggest pain points of dairy farms today is attracting skilled labour. Farmers are finding it difficult to get people to work on farms. It is even more difficult to source domestic labour and many dairy farmers are relying on foreign workers within their workforce. So the Covid 19 crisis and new immigration laws can exacerbate the shortage in qualified labour on dairy farms. A shortage in skilled labour means that caring for cow health and optimal performance becomes more challenging. One solution to this is to breed and manage for resilient cows that are easier to manage. Feeding for improved adaptive capacity to Increase resilience In dairy cows can make a difference to the amount of care a cow requires and thus to the amount of labour needed on the farm.

Nutritional solutions

New nutritional concepts, such as gut agility activators, are designed to support the adaptive capacity and keep animals agile by nutritional means for improved resilience.

The gut agility activator Anco FIT helps the cow to adapt to nutritional and environmental challenges more efficiently by minimising stress reactions such as oxidative stress and reduced feed intake, that would otherwise impact performance and wellbeing of the cow. Heat stress, transition period and mycotoxins are known factors which normally lead to increased oxidative stress and or a reduction in feed intake.

Keep yourself and your cows agile

The safest bet to keep yourself and your cows in the game in the face of unpredictability and change is to support and manage the adaptive capacity of your cows and of yourself. In other words, agility or the ability to adapt to challenges and change is key to longer term success. Staying open to continuous learning and new technologies will help to keep yourself agile. Rethinking how we breed and feed cows to foster resilience will keep cows agile. And there are already great technologies out there that can help monitor the progress we make in this.

Related articles

Labour shortage drives the need for cow resilience to optimize performance

Feeding cows for adaptive capacity in the transition period

How cows can give heat stress the cold shoulder

Covid 19 – A litmus test for agility in agriculture

#Internationalpodcastday – Keep agile, keep farming coming soon

Just in time for #Internationalpodcastday 2019 : If you are looking for real stories from farmers across the globe about how they are adapting to the changing face of their industry and embracing new opportunities, then look no further than our brand new podcast Keep Agile, Keep Farming.

Link to Keep Agile Keep Farming Podcast Trailer and episodes

Adapting to change, seizing new opportunities, diversifying and building resilience is key for farmers if they want to thrive and grow their business in today’s challenging farming environment. In other words: in order to keep farming it pays to keep agile.

We want farmers to keep their fingers on the pulse so “Keep agile, keep farming” will help support and inspire them with insightful ideas for farming agility on the go.

We’ll also be tapping into the vast, global bank of experts by inviting people from all backgrounds and levels of experience from around the world, to share their knowledge and vision with us and our listeners.

Continuous learning and an openness to new ideas is key to keeping agile. Our aim is to provide a rich vein of knowledge and practical assistance in an engaging and fun way, so you can learn something new episode by episode to keep agile and build resilience for your farm business.

Subscribe to our monthly Email newsletter to find out the date for the arrival of the first episode of the Keep Agile, Keep Farming podcast. Happy #Internationalpodcastday

Experience with Anco FIT Poultry is growing globally

Experience with Anco FIT Poultry has been growing considerably in the past year, as the product was introduced into more and more countries.

Here is a short summary of what poultry producers have been reporting after applying Anco FIT Poultry to the feed in their production systems. There is also an increased understanding of the mode of action of this gut agility activator from scientific trials.

Anco FIT Poultry in a nutshell

Anco FIT Poultry is a gut agility activator, a feed solution specifically designed to support the adaptive capacity of the bird for greater resilience to stressors in broilers and egg producing hens by natural means. Producers looking for a more consistent performance in response to their feeding programs, to sustain longer production cycles in the laying hen or reduce the use of antibiotic growth promotors by natural means can benefit economically from this.

Deeper understanding of mode of action

We are gaining a much deeper understanding of the mechanisms of action on the gut and cellular level underlying the benefits to performance seen in the bird from scientific trials carried out in collaboration with the Agricultural University of Athens. In this research tissue samples from different segments of the bird’s gut were analyzed to study the relative expression of genes related to antioxidative enzymes and inflammation.

This study revealed that adding Anco FIT Poultry to the diet upregulates gene expression of antioxidative enzymes and down-regulates NF-kB1 expression, which is involved in inflammatory responses, in the gut. Additional analysis carried out in the same study demonstrated that this coincided with increased levels of total antioxidant capacity in the gut, breast and liver tissue.

Experience with Anco FIT Poultry in broiler production

Field trials with Anco FIT Poultry on commercial broiler farms reported higher weights at slaughter and better feed intakes resulting in a higher ROI, particularly when birds were exposed to stressors such as heat or mycotoxins. This implies that Anco FIT Poultry can be applied to broiler diets for more consistency in the cost-effectiveness of diets, despite the possibility of the bird being exposed to stressors. Large broiler integrators saw improved FCR leading to better gains, when stressors were less prevalent.

Experience with Anco FIT Poultry in egg production

Most of the field trials carried out on laying hen farms so far, evaluated the impact of Anco FIT Poultry on egg production post peak lay. Under those circumstances, data consistently revealed improved laying persistency. This means that the egg production in hens fed Anco FIT Poultry had higher egg production for a longer period post peak lay than control animals. This is of considerable value to egg producers trying to maintain egg production over longer laying cycles in hens to reduce the overall cost of egg production in a sustainable way.

Related articles

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Strategies for greater robustness and laying persistency in layers
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Laying persistency – 500 eggs in a single laying cycle in 100 weeks

More Easter Eggs with Anco FIT Poultry

Need more Easter Eggs? No problem, hens on Anco FIT Poultry are currently producing more eggs for longer than others. This is what recent commercial trials in laying hens, layer breeders and broiler breeders in Brazil and Slovakia are showing.

Adding Anco FIT Poultry to the diets of hens post peak egg production has repeatedly shown to improve laying persistence and hence an increase in the number of eggs over time under commercial conditions. On top of that some farms have also reported reduced mortality in hens.

Ask your local Anco FIT Poultry distributor for more details and how to apply Anco FIT Poultry to diets of laying hens for greater laying persistence.

Learn more about strategies to improve laying persistence and robustness in laying hens

Want to know what we do with Easter Eggs in Austria? Read the fun facts, traditions and recipe below. Happy Easter to everyone, who celebrates it!

Fun facts about Easter Eggs in Austria

Europe’s largest mountain of Easter Eggs

The Easter Market at the old Freyung in Vienna, Austria piles up the largest mountain of painted Easter Eggs in Europe. The pile totals around 40 000 eggs every year.

World’s oldest Easter Egg

The Kramer family in the Austrian state Burgenland is believed to be in the possession of the world’s oldest Easter Egg. In 2019 this hand-scratched Easter Egg is 112 years old.

People in Lower Austria eat 7 eggs at Easter

People in the Austrian state, Lower Austria, where Anco is based, eat around 7 eggs per person around Easter. In total this means 12 million eggs consumed around Easter. (ORF NOE 2018)

Austrian Easter traditions

The main Austrian Easter traditions revolve around eggs.

Decorating eggshells

Decorating eggshells is a long and popular tradition. The decorated eggshells are then hung up with ribbons onto branches in a vase.

Colouring eggs

Coloured hard-boiled eggs are sold in super markets around Easter time. Here the link to a video showing how 30 000 of these Easter eggs are made per hour in Austria. This normally starts in January every year. But many people still make their own at home by boiling the eggs in food colouring.

Video link: Schrall factory in Würmla prepares for Easter 

The company Schrall is based in Würmla, Lower Austria, about 24 minutes by car from the Anco headquarters in Sankt Pölten.

Egg pecking

2 players select a coloured hard-boiled egg each.
They then knock (peck) the eggs with the tip against each other.
The idea is to crack the opponent’s egg while leaving yours unharmed, allowing you to claim the losing egg for yourself.

Recipe – Austrian Easter Egg spread

If you have too many Easter Eggs, there is also a solution, how to make further use of leftover eggs. It is a perfect opportunity to prepare an egg spread, which can also make a tasty Easter dish. Savoury bread spreads are very popular in Austria and are easily prepared. This Easter Egg spread is prepared within 10 min.

– 5 cooked eggs
– 1/2 small onion
– 3 tablespoons sour cream
– 50 g/ 18,8 oz crème fraîche (with herbs)
– 1 teaspoon chopped chives
– 1/2 teaspoon mustard
– 1/2 teaspoon
– 1/2 teaspoon organic soup powder (for vegetable stock)
– salt
– pepper

Cut eggs into small cubes. Chop the onion very finely. Mix all the ingredients and season with salt and pepper.


Anco FIT Farm – Weniger Stress durch robuste Tiere

Anco FIT Farm ist ein Ergänzungsfuttermittel speziell entwickelt zur Stärkung der Widerstandsfähigkeit gegenüber ernährungs-und umweltbedingten Stressfaktoren.

Eine hohe und konstante Kosteneffizienz vom Fertigfutter kann nur dann gewährleistet werden, wenn die Leistung des Tieres nicht durch andere Einflüsse beeinträchtigt wird. Futterwechsel, Hitze, hohe Milchleistungen, Endotoxine und Mykotoxine können Stressreaktionen im Tier hervorrufen, die vor allem die Energieverwertung und Futteraufnahme reduzieren. Damit sind Leistungsschwankungen vorprogammiert.

Wie das Tier reagiert bestimmt das Ausmaß. Unser Produkt bietet eine Lösung, das Tier dabei regulierend über das Futter auf natürliche Weise zu unterstützen, um die Stressreaktionen zu mindern.

Gesunde Tiere mit konstanten Leistungen bedeuten auch weniger Arbeit und Stress für den Landwirt.

Wo wird Anco FIT Farm eingesetzt?

Anco FIT Farm wird direkt am Betrieb ins Fertigfutter für Schweine und Wiederkäuer eingemischt. Bei Milchkühen wird es vor allem in Maissilage betonte Rationen dazugemischt.

In welchen Gebinden ist das Produkt erhältlich?

Anco FIT Farm ist in 20kg Säcken erhältlich. Die Vakuumverpackung mit Plastiksäcken, macht das Produkt besonders handlich am Betrieb und kann sehr gut gelagert werden.

Ist das Produkt GMO frei?

Ja, dieses Ergänzungsfuttermittel enthält keine genetisch modifizierten Organismen und ist GMO-frei zertifiziert.

Wo wird das Produkt produziert?

Es wird in Österreich produziert unter den Qualitätskriterien für GMP+ und ISO 9001.

Mehr Informationen

Haben wir Dein Interesse für dieses Produkt geweckt und möchtest Du mehr dazu erfahren? Hier kannst Du mehr zum Agilitäts Prinzip und zur Wirkungsweise lesen.

oder kontaktiere uns


Anco Animal Nutrition Competence GmbH

Linzer Strasse 55

3100 Sankt Pölten


0043 2742 90502



Egg producer – monday motivation video with Anco FIT poultry

The modern egg producer is facing tough challenges ahead. More eggs per laying hen (500 eggs in a single laying cycle of 100 weeks by 2020), whilst reducing the use of antibiotics, improving hen care and welfare, introducing cage-free production and preserving the environment.

It requires extra motivation, new and creative thinking to advance egg production. Watch our Monday motivation video for egg producers to boost your motivation and creativity.

Other sources to brighten your day

11 ways to beat the Monday Blues

Chicken song

More information on Anco FIT Poultry

More eggs, greater laying persistency

Available in more than 30 countries

Improved antioxidative capacity for better feed efficiency

Gut agility activator – Anco FIT product line now available in more than 30 countries

Anco FIT is the first gut agility activator on the market for the application in animal feed and is now available in more than 30 countries across the world.

Gut agility describes the capability of the animal to adapt to stressors faster in a more efficient response. It makes the animal more robust in the face of dietary challenges and stressors. Slightly rewording a famous quote might put it better: “It is not the healthiest that survive it is the ones most adaptable to change.”

The focus is on empowering adaptability in the animal for greater resilience.

Scientific evidence suggests that for genetic selection, improving ability of animals to cope with stressors may be a better way of improving performance than selecting only for increased growth potential.

Therefore increasing the animal’s capability to adapt to nutritional stressors more adequately by nutritional means, offers a more immediate alternative to improve animal performance and competitive advantage in animal production.

The gut is particularly responsive to different stressors. That is why the focus is on the gut to empower animals to cope with stressors.

More information on the Anco FIT product line

Anco FIT in dairy cows

Anco FIT poultry for broilers and layers

Anco FIT in pigs

Contact us to find the nearest Anco FIT distributor to you.

Get more milk solids per day and start boosting your 2018 profits now

Milk solid levels, such as protein and fat, are important factors in dairy herd management. Studies have indicated that many herds are producing milk solids below average for their market and their breed, which presents an opportunity to improve milk component production and income from milk sales.

There are many factors that can affect milk fat and protein, which can be manipulated for higher levels of milk components. Management of nutrition and feeding practices are most likely to quickly and dramatically alter production of milk fat and protein.

Nutritional strategies for high milk solid levels

Nutrition and feeding management are considered the best solutions to a milk fat or protein problem other than genetics. Milk fat depression can be alleviated within 7 to 21 days by changing the diet. Milk protein changes take at least 3 weeks or longer.

Any diet or management factors that affect rumen fermentation can change milk fat and protein levels. Reduction in rumen microbial protein production from nutrition or feeding management imbalances will reduce milk protein by way of less microbial protein for the cow to digest and depress fat by limiting volatile fatty acid (VFA) production in the rumen.

Benefits of feeding Anco FIT to dairy cows

Supplementing dairy rations with Anco FIT has been proven in research and field trials to increase milk protein and milk fat yields in dairy cows and thus increase profitability including the cost of the product in the dairy ration.

Figure 1 below shows the average improvement in milk fat and protein yields in 8 different dairy trials in 4 different countries (Austria, Germany, USA and Czech Republic). Breeds in the studied herds included Holstein, Simmental, Montbeliarde and Brown Swiss.

Increase in milk solid levels

average improvement in milk solid levels (%) with Anco FIT across 8 trials was

milk fat level (%): +4.55% increase
milk protein level (%): +2.43% increase

Increase in milk solid yields (Figure 1)

average improvement in milk solid yields with Anco FIT across 8 trials was
daily milk fat yield (kg): + 6.61 % increase with Anco FIT
daily milk protein yield (kg): +4.18% increase with Anco FIT

Economic benefit – $0.60/cow/day

With current prices (status USDA, 4th January 2018) for milk fat (2.49 $/lb) and milk protein (2.04 $/lb) for US dairy production this improvement in milk components when feeding Anco FIT would mean an increase of $0.60/cow/day in income from milk solids using average performance data of the dairy herds in the 8 trials featured below.

About Anco FIT

Anco FIT is a gut agility activator designed to empower dairy cows to cope with nutritional stress factors in a more efficient way and improve rumen fermentation, resulting in better milk quality and milk component yields

Find out more about Anco FIT in the following link: What is Anco FIT? 

More points to consider for 2018 profits on dairy farms

Milk Components: Understanding milk fat and protein variation in your dairy herd    learn more

Simple spreadsheet to calculate gross milk price for various milk solid levels   calculate milk prices

One additional incentive to proper silage management  learn more

3 things you should know about 2017 Corn silage learn more


Figure 1 Improvement in milk solid yields in response to Anco FIT in dairy cows

anco fit - dairy trials- milk solid yield