envirolac- The palm-free fat supplement for dairy farming
envirolac Case Study

The palm-free fat supplement for dairy farming and environmental sustainability

As consumers become more conscious of the environmental impacts of food production, many dairy farmers are taking steps to reduce their carbon footprint and promote sustainable practices on their farms.

envirolac, UFAC’s palm-free fat supplement, is the solution for farming and environmental sustainability, proven to increase milk yields and quality while offering a lower carbon footprint than palm-oil-based fat supplements.

envirolac aims to assist with the reduction of palm deforestation, reduce the carbon footprint of UK milk production, offer the potential to increase the health-giving benefits of dairy products and improve farmer efficiency and profitability.

It has been designed to increase dietary energy density while optimising rumen fermentation and prime liver function in order to increase milk yield and constituents and improve cow health and fertility.

  • ufac Increases milk yield, butterfat and protein
  • ufac Increases milk short-chain fatty acids and DHA
  • ufac Does not affect methane
  • ufac Lowers the carbon footprint of the feed

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The Challenge

The agri-food industry faces the increasing, combined challenges of producing healthier food in an environmentally responsible way while being sustainably profitable.

The Human Health Challenges

Lack of omega-3 EPA and DHA in diets denies humans the intake of specific fatty acids considered to have cardiovascular protective effects on the body. Dairy products are a major component of human diets. The recommended adult daily intake of EPA and DHA is 450mg. However, the mean daily intake is about 54% of this. Enriching dairy products with EPA and DHA through diet has the potential to bridge the gap between intake and requirement.

The Sustainability Challenges

Palm-oil derived fat supplements such as Calcium Soap is commonly used as rumen protected fat sources in dairy feed. They are designed and used to increase the energy density of rations, reduce the negative energy balance in early lactation, and help maintain milk butterfat and yield. The use of palm oil within the product is intensely debated because of its high carbon footprint, its association with deforestation and its impact on greenhouse gas emissions.

increasing forages

The Agri-Food Industry Challenges

The agri-food industry faces the increasing, combined challenges of producing healthier food in an environmentally responsible way while being sustainably profitable.

Specifically, these are:
• Labour costs and availability
• Increasing feed and input costs
• Processor demands for total milk solids
• Environmental pressure to reduce total farm carbon footprint
• UK Environment Agency target of net zero emissions by 2030

The Reproductive Challenges

Low reproductive performance continues to be a major problem in high-yielding dairy cows. Palm oil lacks the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA, considered important to cow health and reproduction.

According to The National Animal Disease Information Service (NADIS), poor fertility is probably the most economically important animal health issue, accounting for an average loss in the UK of around £250 per cow.*

Palm oil in Calcium Soap:

Palm oil-derived fat supplements, such as calcium soaps, are commonly used as rumen-protected fat sources in dairy feed in the UK to increase the energy density of rations, reduce the negative energy balance in early lactation, and help maintain butterfat.

Palm oil is intensely debated within the farming industry due to its association with deforestation, high carbon footprint, and impact on greenhouse gas emissions.

Calcium soap is unpalatable and not balanced in the essential fatty acids dairy cows need for metabolic functions, the production of healthy milk and overall dairy cow health and fertility.

The decision process

Fats play an important role in dairy cow nutrition - particularly milk yield and quality. The industry desperately needs an alternative to widely used palm oil-derived fat to help reduce the impact it has on the environment and climate change.

envirolac aims to assist with the reduction of palm deforestation and reduce the carbon footprint of UK milk production.

We recognise the significance of feeding individual fatty acids to dairy cows and the importance of balancing them for maximum impact. By developing a supplement with an enhanced blend of locally sourced, sustainable oils and complimentary ingredients, we can offer an eco-friendly product to support animal production, health, fertility and improved feed efficiency.

envirolac's Goals

  • ufac Assist with the reduction of palm deforestation
  • ufac Reduce the carbon footprint of UK milk production
  • ufac Offer the potential to increase the health benefits of dairy products
  • ufac Improve dairy farm efficiencies, profitability and sustainability
University of Nottingham Trial

Trial background

envirolac was developed and formulated using research and validated in an independently controlled scientific trial. Led by Professor Phil Garnsworthy at the University of Nottingham and funded by CIEL, a cross-over design trial was performed independently on the CDSI herd over the course of 8 weeks.

Herd info:

  • 50 high yielding Holstein-Friesian dairy cows, producing an average annual milk yield of 12,500 kg per cow
  • >50 days-in-milk at start
  • Robotic milking - each cow was fed exactly what they require depending on where they are in the lactation curve
  • Fed partial mixed ration (grass, maize and whole-crop silages, soya, rape, fat, molasses, minerals)
  • No increase in dry matter intake
  • Concentrates during milking (0.45 kg/L above 32 L/d
  • Fats included in PMR at 0.5kg/d

Each cow was fed exactly what they required, depending on where they were in the lactation curve. The herd was fed a partial mixed ration with no increase in dry matter intake.

Weeks of Trial

Groups Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Week 7 Week 8
25 cows control test fat
25 cows test fat control

Weeks of Trial

Groups

25 cows 25 cows
Week 1 control test fat
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
Week 5 test fat control
Week 6
Week 7
Week 8

Performance Results:

Calcium Soap Envirolac Difference
Milk yield (Kg/d) 40.1 40.7 +0.6
Energy corrected milk (Kg/d) 41.3 42.9 +1.6
Butterfat % 3.85 4.01 +0.16
Protein % 3.01 3.06 +0.5
Fat yield (g/d) 1512 1603 +91
Protein yield (g/d) 1199 1239 +40
Fat + Protein (g/d) 2712 2841 +129
Dry matter intake (Kg/d) 23.4 23.4
Feed Efficiency (ECM/DMI) 1.78 1.83 +0.05
Diet DM digestibility 0.722 0.739
Methane (d/d) 425 438
Methane (g/kg ECM) 10.5 10.2 -0.3

Feed Carbon Footprint Results:

Calcium Soap Envirolac Difference
Milk yield (Kg/d) 2830g 1028g -64%
Milk (CO2 eq/kg) 287g 255g -11%

The results of the scientific trial revealed:

  • ufac Increase in milk yield
  • ufac Increase in butterfat
  • ufac Increase in protein
  • ufac Increase in fat
  • ufac Increase in milk short-chain fatty acids and DHA
  • ufac No increase in dry matter intake
  • ufac Did not affect methane
  • ufac Lowered the carbon footprint of the feed

Benefits

  • ufac High return on investment
  • ufac Results demonstrate that envirolac has a higher feed conversion
  • ufac Farmers can invest in envirolac to reduce their carbon footprint
  • ufac envirolac provides a cost-effective solution to milk buyers’ carbon footprint reduction requirements, without having to pay a premium
  • ufac envirolac increases butterfat production, helping farmers achieve contract arguments more easily
  • ufac Financial gains achieved through higher milk yields, butterfat and protein outweigh the outlay costs
  • ufac envirolac is more palatable for cows
  • ufac Farmers can achieve bonuses payable by processors to those who lower their carbon footprint

What else did we learn?

Scientifically Validating Feeding Unsaturated Fats:

The scientific trial provided conclusive evidence that feeding cows unsaturated fats enhances productivity, which challenges the existing beliefs around saturated fats. With only 50% oil content, when compared to calcium soaps containing 85%, envirolac was also proven to be a more balanced and advantageous choice for dairy farmers. By containing 60% less saturated fat than calcium soap, envirolac not only benefits cows by improving fat digestibility but also produces healthier milk for consumers.

Higher ME Calculation

As well as confirming a lower percentage of saturated fats and a lower carbon footprint in envirolac, the trial, supported by the NASEM, confirmed that envirolac has a higher ME of 29.5 compared to calcium soap at 23.8 ME. This correction highlights a direct link between the higher ME value of envirolac and increased productivity.

Professor Phil Garnsworthy, University of Nottingham

“Targeted and precision feeding of envirolac offers producers significant financial gains through improved quantity and quality of milk produced and reduced cost of concentrate feeding.” “The aim of our trial was to demonstrate that envirolac performed just as well as a calcium soap, however what we actually discovered was that there was a significant increase in milk yield and butterfat production, with no impact on dry matter intake. Overall, we found an increase in feed conversion efficiency.”

Professor Phil Garnsworthy, University of Nottingham

Robert Jones, Managing Director, UFAC UK

“Backed by scientific research, we are making breakthroughs in feed formulations, removing the need for palm oil and reducing the reliance on soya.” “We are unlocking the door to a more sustainable future that will positively impact the environment while transforming animal health, and increasing performance and profitability.”

Robert Jones, Managing Director, UFAC UK

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Commercial Farm Trial

A trial was also performed in Somerset at Rushywood Farm

Somerset farmer, Neil Baker, had been looking for ways to reduce his farm’s carbon footprint, improve sustainability whilst maintaining herd performance and energy.

UFAC saw a fantastic opportunity to replace the alternative fat supplements that they were using with envirolac. envirolac has replaced calcium soap in the ration at Rushywood Farm since December 2022.

The ration currently fed to Rushywood Farm’s 1,800 dairy cows is made up of maize and grass silage, at a proportion of 2-to-1, with 30kg maize and 15-17 kilos grass, fresh-weight.

This is balanced with rape meal as the main source of protein, with an inclusion rate of 250g of envirolac added to balance the energy.

Since feeding envirolac, the herd has experienced no drop in components, and over the last 6 months, the yield has remained consistent.

The herd is currently averaging 36 litres per cow per day, at 4.2% butterfat and holding 3.5% protein. envirolac has also reduced the farm’s overall carbon footprint.

Averaging 36 lt Milk yield (per cow, p/d)
Holding 4.2% Butterfat
Holding 3.5% Protein

Diana Guitane, Rushywood Farm Herd Manager

Diana Rushywood Farm

“If we look at the last twelve months and compare, the average daily yield has increased since envirolac has been part of that ration. We feel that it is performing and it is supporting energy requirements for the cows, it helps us balance rations so there is definitely a place for it here.“

Diana Guitane, Herd Manager

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