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Getting supplementation right improves dairy efficiency, performance profitability

Balancing energy sources can help reduce environmental footprints

If precision is key to cost-effective milk production, understanding the true energy values of fats will underpin building a successful diet for healthy, fertile dairy cows. While forage analysis is a key building block when formulating a diet, understanding the role of fatty acids and the true energy content of different oils and fats is crucial to optimise performance and health with tailored supplements, while also controlling costs. Each fatty acid has a unique role in the animal, so it is important to ensure the right fatty acids are fed, in the correct balance, to meet the cow’s needs at different stages of lactation.

The key is to achieve better utilisation of the ration. A combination of rumen-inert fats are needed, based on balanced essential fatty acids, and slow-release rumen conditioners and fermentable sugars. This approach typically achieves optimal rumen function and pH stability, supports digestion, maximises dry matter intake (DMI) and ultimately increases the diet’s energy content. The unique combination of fatty acids in the palm-free fat supplement envirolac from UFAC-UK, can help improve efficiencies and performance, while providing a more sustainable energy source than palm-oil derived alternatives.

In terms of energy values, several factors determine the overall Metabolisable Energy (ME) that is available to the cow, including digestibility. At 29.8 MJ/kg DM, the palm-free envirolac has more energy than a palm-oil based calcium soap (NASEM 2021), so it increases energy density of the diet, crucial for high-yielding dairy cows, especially in early lactation.

The supplement also supplies C18:1 fatty acid, helping to reduce body condition loss, especially in early lactation. In addition, long chain Omega 3 fatty acids help support fertility and also gives the immune system a boost. Launched in 2022, following ground-breaking research through the University of Nottingham, the new palm-free fat supplement has been shown to increase milk yield and quality, whilst also offering a lower carbon footprint than palm-oil based market alternatives.

During the research trials at Nottingham, conducted by Professor Phil Garnsworthy, it was found that envirolac can offer producers significant financial gains, through improved quantity and quality of milk produced and reduced cost of concentrate feeding.

The original aim of our trial was to demonstrate that envirolac performed just as well as a calcium soap, however what we actually discovered was that there was a significant increase
in milk yield and butterfat production, with no impact on dry matter intake,” says Professor Garnsworthy.

Short-listed for the RABDF Innovation Award and highly commended at the national Cream Awards in 2022, the initial results of the envirolac trial indicate a potential financial benefit to the UK dairy sector in excess of £85 million, based on the market prices when the research was unveiled, for the products under trial and liquid milk.

The rumen-inert fat supplement envirolac supplies the essential long chain Omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, also found in UFAC-UK’s Omega 3 supplement, available from NWF Agriculture. The Omega 3 supplement brings all the benefits previously associated with fishmeal, by providing the optimum ratio of Omega 6: Omega 3 fatty acids. The Omega 3s come from the most effective marine oil source, with EPA and DHA helping to support high yields, reproductive performance and immunity.

For further information on NWF fats, please speak to your local NWF Sales Specialist or call 0800 756 2787.

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