Fatty acids crucial for robot success

Ensuring outside rations are balanced with the optimum sources of fatty acids will help improve performance in robotic milking systems according to Mark Townsend from UFAC.

Fatty acids crucial for robot success

Ensuring outside rations are balanced with the optimum sources of fatty acids will help improve performance in robotic milking systems according to Mark Townsend from UFAC.

The number of herds being milked through robots in the UK continues to grow as farmers look for ways to increase productivity. One of the keys to optimising the number of visits through the robot is to reduce the M+ value of the outside diet, allowing cows more access to concentrates fed during milking to encourage them to visit the robot.

In most robotically milked herds, high yielding cows may be getting around 12kg concentrates through the robot, meaning the outside diet still need to be formulated to M+20 to M+25 litres. It is vital it is correctly balanced to help provide the total daily requirements of the cows, while balancing any deficiencies in the concentrates fed through the robot, particularly fatty acids and amino acids.

The following are points to consider:
As dairy compounds contain high levels of rumen fermentable carbohydrates it is important to watch levels in the outside ration to help prevent increased incidence of SARA. Including rumen-inert fatty acids will help boost energy levels while improving rumen health.
Cows have a requirement for the essential fatty acid C18:3 Linolenic acid which is used in the production of long chain omega 3 fatty acids. There is very little in dairy compounds so additional supplementation is required.
Dairy compounds are generally low in the essential omega 3 fatty acids. These fatty acids, in particular EPA and DHA which come from marine oil, play a crucial role in keeping the cow healthy and fertile.
Also, we know C18:1 Oleic is critical for FCE, preventing insulin resistance and maintaining body condition, so making sure the outside diet is supplemented with this fatty acid is crucial.

Producing a well-balanced outside ration using a supplement such as Dynalac with its content of the essential fatty acids can be an important part in a successful robot milking strategy.

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