​​Understanding true energy value of fats

Formulating the most cost- effective diet relies on an accurate assessment of the energy content of feeds.

​​Understanding true energy value of fats

Formulating the most cost- effective diet relies on an accurate assessment of the energy content of feeds. As Joe Magadi UFAC UK Technical Manager explains, this must involve taking a closer look at oils and fats.

“When formulating a diet, one of the key building blocks is a forage analysis, allowing you to take accurate account of the quality of forage,” Joe explains. “Dairy farmers know forage quality will vary and so plan to take account of it, yet many assume all oils and fats will provide similar energy content when looking to build a diet. Nothing could be further from the truth.”

While the gross energy content of fats and oils is constant at 39MJ/kgDM, independent studies highlight several factors that will determine the overall ME that is actually available to the cow.

These are:
Actual oil content – fat products contain differing amounts of fatty acids
Digestibility – the digestibility of different fats and oils varying, which affects the amount actually available to the cow.

Mix of fats – blends of oils and fats have a synergistic effect on energy yield. In simple terms blends of oils and fats supply around 7% more energy than a single fat product.

The carrier – where a fat supplement includes a carrier, this in itself can be a source of energy.

The table below compares the actual energy supply for three common fat supplements used on UK dairy farms – a high C16 product, a calcium soap and UFAC Dynalac which is a blended oil product supplied on a carrier.

 

Because Dynalac is based on a blend of oils and fats, it has high digestibility due to the synergistic effect, with ME yield of 27MJ/kgDM. Calcium soaps on the other hand, although typically quoted as being 33MJ/kgDM, are actually only 26.2MJ/kgDM, mainly because of the lower digestibility. The only way calcium soap could provide 33MJ per kg is if the fat was 100% digestible.
When you also consider that calcium soaps cost around £720 on farm and Dynalac is £630 per tonne, the economic consequence is considerable. While Dynalac works out at 2.3p/MJ compared with calcium soap at 2.7p/MJ.
When incorporating fats and oils in dairy cow diets, work out the true ME to ensure cows receive the energy they require and calculate pence/MJ to ensure you get the best 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