Ensuring that cows have enough structural fibre from forage is important to prevent milk fat depression at turnout and during the early part of the grazing season. Early season grass has a low fibre and a high sugar content, which tends to reduce milk fat and this is why a seasonal depression is often seen. Buffer feeding at grass and including digestible fibre energy feeds can help, but providing enough of the right type of fat in the diet also plays a key role.
ForFarmers has launched a C16 fat product to help improve low butterfats, following successful trial work at the company's nutrition and innovation centre, based near Lochem in the Netherlands. ButterLac was trialled against other fat products and the researchers found that it increased butterfat content more than any other, while also supporting milk yield.
Palmitic acid (C16:0) is used in milk fat synthesis to a large extent and, therefore, adding fats that compromise mainly C16 to rations can have a significant effect on milk fat content. Further trials, which involved early lactation cows (80 days in milk), found that using a combination of C18 and C16 had the greatest effect on fat yield.
Milk yield was higher while milk fat content was only slightly reduced. C18 is believed to have a glucose-sparing effect that lowers accumulation of fat in the liver, which makes it more suited for early lactation. This led ForFarmers to develop the combination product BoosterLac, which proved even more effective in supporting milk yield than calcium-soap protected-fat under heat-stress conditions.
For more information, contact ForFarmers on 0845 722 8853 or email firstname.lastname@example.org