2018-09-18   facebooktwitterrss

How Fatty Acids Can Boost Your Milk Margins

Individual fatty acids have now been identified with a major positive impact on returns from dairy farming.

The good news at a 'Transitioning from Fats to Fatty Acids' seminar in Armagh as farmers face into a second winter with rising concerns over silage quantity and quality.

Prof Finbar Mulligan, Dublin Veterinary School, chaired the dairy nutrition seminar in Armagh, which featured a skyped interview with Prof Adam Lock, Michigan State University.

Prof Finbar Mulligan, Dublin Veterinary School, chaired the dairy nutrition seminar in Armagh, which featured a skyped interview with Prof Adam Lock, Michigan State University.

“For a generation, 35 years, progressive producers have used Megalac rumen protect fat as a source of energy in their dairy rations,” noted Dr Richard Kirkland of event organisers Volac Wilmar.

“But we know now that fat is much more than a valuable energy source with 2.5 times the ME of cereals. Researchers such as Prof Adam Lock at Michigan State University, have identified the role of individual fatty acids in improving cow performance.

“Ground breaking work that has helped Volac Wilmar extend the Megalac range of rumen protected fats to enable farmers and their nutrient advisers to amend diets to suit individual farm circumstances. Be it early, mid or late lactation or indeed particular herd problems such as low fertility.

“There are over 400 fatty acids, but a handful, such as C16, C18.1 and C18.3, allow us to improve milk output and composition, fertility, herd health and even dairy farming's impact on the environment.”

A theme taken up by Dr John Newbold, head of Volac Animal Nutrition technical department.

“It has been proven that not only does the fatty acid C16, Palmitic Acid, boost milk fat %, but it also favours partitioning of nutrients towards milk production rather than the cow's body tissue.

By contrast highly digestible C18.1, Oleic Acid, relative to C16 can favour partitioning of nutrients towards body tissue reserves. And of course it was already understood that C18.3, Linolenic Acid, has a role in protecting embryo viability.

“One of the more exciting aspects of our increased knowledge of fatty acids is how the ratio of these to each other in the dairy diet offers exciting opportunities for extra herd income.

“By applying recent major advances in our understanding of how fatty acids work in the bovine digestive system farm businesses can gain extra yield and a higher milk fat % plus enhance calving indexes. Megalac of course having been shown in farm trials as far back as 1992 to reduce the average calving index by 9.4 days.

“Now the new, eight strong Megalac range uses the ratio of key fatty acids to match the needs of the cow at various stages of her lactation and at drying off.”

Dr Newbold then looked at the practicalities of managing the ratio of C16 to C18.1 fatty acids in different types of herd management situations.

Block calving - spring

  • Opportunity to follow the sequence Megalac> Mega-Fat across the herd
  • Use fat supplements as straights or ingredients of compound feed
  • Interaction with C18:3 from fresh grass?

Block calving - autumn

  • Lower intake of omega 3 fatty acids from conserved forage: consider Mega-Flax if embryo survival is a concern

Grouping strategies for all-year-round TMR

  • Opportunities to increase ratio through lactation using fat supplements as ‘straights’ across groups in the sequence Megalac> Mega-Fat

Out-of-parlour feeders and automatic milking systems

  • Options for precision feeding to maximise economic response per individual cow

Continuing the debate Dr Newbold looked at the excellent financial return on well planned use of the Megalac range to produce those marginal extra litres.

“ The extra milk produced has a lot more value than the extra input costs of using the right fatty acids at the right time.”

In summary his colleague from Dungannon, Dr Richard Kirkland, emphasised again that fat is much more than an energy source.

“We must think of the fatty acid profile of the supplements being added to the dairy herd diet. Currently the roles of fatty acids C16, C18.1 and C18.3 are best understood as regards major benefits to herd performance.

“At Volac Wilmar our aim is to apply the growing body of research results on fatty acids to our Megalac range. Volac Wilmar Feed Ingredients, a joint global venture between Volac and Wilmar, gives farmers access to feed fat ingredients used in cattle, sheep, pig and poultry diets.”


Related Links
link Potential Savings in Cow Hygiene at Housing
link NMR Launches New ‘Smart' Tool
link Farm Family Invent Livestock Fence Operated by Robots
link Maximise Cow Health and Performance with Y-Ware