Correct fat choice crucial for optimum performance

Taking time to choose the best fat product for your system will have a big impact on performance, health, fertility and, most importantly margins this summer.

 

Correct fat choice crucial for optimum performance

Taking time to choose the best fat product for your system will have a big impact on performance, health, fertility and, most importantly margins this summer.

Whatever the system, dairy farmers will all want to achieve similar objectives this summer:

  • They will want cows that produce as much milk from forage as possible
  • They will want to squeeze every last drop of available income from the contract
  • They will want cows to get in calf
  • They will want healthy cows which do not lose excess body condition.

The order of priority will change but the general objectives will be very similar. One way to help ensure you achieve your priorities is to feed the correct fat supplement to the diet.

Fats are an essential component of all dairy cow diets but it is vital to understand that all fats are not the same. They differ in their composition and the effect they have in the cow, meaning it is possible to choose a fat best suited to your circumstances. Feed the right fat and you can expect a good return on investment. Feed the wrong fat and costs may exceed the return, and the cows will definitely suffer.

C16 is not the only fat

Many producers believe that a cow’s requirements for dietary fat can be met simply by feeding a source of C16 fats. This is not the case. Cows need a blend of different fats for different roles.

C16 is usually associated with increasing butterfats, something that will be essential under many milk contracts this spring. Dietary C16 moves straight from the rumen to the udder and C16 contributes only up to 38% of the butterfat in milk.

To maximise total butterfat percent, two others things have to happen. Firstly it is vital to maximise VFA production in the rumen as they account for another 30% of butterfat. Secondly, the diet must contain the range of fatty acids which directly make up the remaining third of butterfat but which the cow can not synthesise herself, mainly unsaturated fats of various chain lengths. Simply feeding more C16, which is poorly digested, will not necessarily boost butterfat and it can have negative effects.

It provides no energy for maintenance and can consequently lead to increased body condition loss and an increased risk of lameness and poor fertility. Think wise and select optimum fat blend As fats are involved in many functions in the cow it is important to understand what you are looking for and to choose the fat supplement correctly.

To illustrate this point we have chosen three common scenarios that will be found on dairy farms this summer. All the farms will be trying to achieve our key objectives, but for each the priorities and therefore optimum fat product will vary. In each case we will outline the benefits compared to using straight C16 fat or a calcium soap for a herd of 120 cows averaging 26 litres per day at 20ppl. Lameness levels are the national average of 33%, causing a 5% yield reduction in affected cows.

Scenario 1
An autumn calved herd where cows are in calf or herds where only in calf cows will be turned out to graze.

The objectives here will be to maximise value from the contract through good butterfat production. At the same time it will be important to maintain mobility to make cows enthusiastic grazers and to improve production from forage and to ensure cows do not lose condition.

The cows need a fat source which contains C18:1 fat. This is important because when cows lose condition they mobilise C18:1 from the footpad. This increases foot discomfort leading to lameness and therefore reduced grazing activity and less milk from forage.

In addition, as overall concentrate feed rates will be cut back to encourage milk from grazing and to cut costs, cows will need supplementing with the essential fatty acids C18:2” and C18:3 which they can not synthesise themselves and do need in the diet.

UFAC Buttercup Extra would be the ideal supplement in this situation, providing the specific fats the cow requires including C18:1, C18:2, C18:3 along with a high level of C16:0, plus glycerine to increase overall fat digestibility.

THE BUTACUP

EXTRA BENEFIT

£
Reduced lameness due to

inclusion of C18:1 fat – 5%

yield increase (1.3 litres per

day) for 11% of herd for 180

days at 20p

618
Increased yield due to higher

effective energy content

compared to C16 – 0.2 litres

per cow per day for 180 days

at 20p

864
Improved fertility – 5 day

reduction in days open at

£5 per day

3000
Reduced feed costs –

assuming 300g/day fed fot 180

days – Butacup Extra @£766/t,

C16 @ £830/t

414
TOTAL BENEFIT  4896
Margin benefit per cow over

180 days

41

Scenario 2
An all year round calving herd with all cows turned out.

In addition to maintaining milk quality at grass and ensuring high grazing intakes to drive milk from forage, fertility is a big issue. Getting cows in calf on time can have a big impact on price as it will help ensure the milk profile is achieved.

The optimum fat supplement will ensure cows continue to milk well and do not lose excess body condition. It will also ensure good foot health which will have an impact on bulling behaviour. Finally if it contains the oils EPA and DPA it will positively support reproductive efficiency. Fed in the optimum ratio of Ω3 to Ω6, this will increase progesterone levels to support higher pregnancy rates while reducing early embryo loss and providing a higher quality egg.

UFAC Omega Cream contains a rumen inert blend of essential fatty acids plus Ω3 oils to provide a balance dietary supplement for cows where fertility is high on the priority list alongside production.

THE OMEGA CREAM

BENEFIT

£
Increased yield due to higher

effective energy content

compared to C16 – 0.2 litres

per cow per day for 180 days

at 20p

864
Improved fertility – 5 day

reduction in days open at

£5 per day

3000
Reduced feed costs –

assuming 300g/day fed for

180 days – Omega Cream

Extra @£760/t, C16 @ £830/t

483
TOTAL BENEFIT  4347
Margin benefit per cow over

180 days

36

Scenario 3
High yielding, fresh calved cows housed while low yielders go out to graze.

In this situation fertility is again a key consideration while driving dry matter intakes to increase production. At the same time it will be essential to maintain milk quality to achieve the best available milk price.

In these situations, UFAC Dynalac can provide an excellent cost- effective energy source, being better balanced than a calcium soap while also being cheaper. It contains the essential fatty acids along with the optimum level of Ω3 oils to deliver better fertility. Its high digestibility improves feed conversion and encourages higher dry matter intakes.

The benefit is calculated assuming half the herd (60 cows) is housed all summer.

THE DYNALAC BENEFIT £
Increased yield due to higher

effective energy content

compared to Calcium soap – 2

litres per cow per day for 180

days at 20p for 60 cows

4320
Improved fertility – 5 day re-duction in days open at £5 per day for 60 cows 1500
Reduced feed costs – assum-

ing 300g/day fed for 180 days – Dynalac @£540/t, Calcium

soap @ £560/t

65
TOTAL BENEFIT  5885
Margin benefit per cow over

180 days

98

These scenarios clearly demonstrate that one product will not deliver the best results in every situation. Selecting the most suitable product will help deliver better margins.

Related Stories

New palm-free fat supplement increases milk yields and helps lower carbon footprint

Launch of envirolac has the potential to transform dairy sector performance and enhance sustainability credentials

By UFAC in Latest News

Row of cows eating food

UK Heatwave: Protecting dairy herds from heat stress

As the dry weather period continues across the UK, it’s not only heat stress that our industry needs to contend with. According to the latest report by GrassWatch, grass growth rates are falling and are well below the last 6-year average.

By UFAC in Latest News

Five dairy cows grazing in a field on a sunny day

Precision feeding can help extend grazing period

Technical Manager, Mike Chown, explains how dairy farmers can increase milk from forage and achieve margins through precision feeding.

By UFAC in Latest News

Seven brown cows feeding on grass in a field

Palm-free fat supplementation research results revealed at DairyTech 2022

Results have the potential to transform dairy sector performance and sustainability credentials

By UFAC in Latest News

News

Stay up to date with our latest news & product updates


New palm-free fat supplement increases milk yields and helps lower carbon footprint

By UFAC in Latest News

Row of cows eating food

UK Heatwave: Protecting dairy herds from heat stress

By UFAC in Latest News

Five dairy cows grazing in a field on a sunny day

Precision feeding can help extend grazing period

By UFAC in Latest News

Seven brown cows feeding on grass in a field

Palm-free fat supplementation research results revealed at DairyTech 2022

By UFAC in Latest News

Head and shoulers shot of man smiling, Robert Jones, UFAC.

UFAC-UK announces CIEL supported ruminant research partnership project with University of Nottingham

By UFAC in Latest News

Head and shoulers shot of man smiling, Nigel Bateson, UFAC.

UFAC-UK joins forces with the industry to help promote sustainability of dairy farming

By UFAC in Latest News

Large male orange cow. Standing in front of Harrison and Hetherington backdrop.

Key component of bull ration helps achieve top price

By UFAC in Latest News

Two cows beside UFAC dynalac product.

Palm-free alternative for optimum dairy performance

By UFAC in Latest News

milk splashing

Optimising milk from forage in order to increase margins requires precision feeding

By UFAC in Latest News

Line of cows being milked by milking machine.

Don’t compromise dairy performance by underestimating mycotoxin contamination

By UFAC in Latest News