January 11, 2018
One of the most frequent question being asked is "What is the optimal amount of fat to feed to improve reproduction?"
Amount Of Fat
From previous studies, the fat sources being fed were a minimum of 1.5% of dietary DM.
We know that this amount proved to be effective but it is unsure if feeding a smaller amount would be equally effective.
Some people feed smaller amount to minimise cost or negative effects of supplemental fats on cow's bacteria in the rumen.
In general, feeding fat supplementation at 1.5% of DM is usually safe except for fish oil.
Feeding fish oil at more than 1% DM can cause reduction in feed intake or milk fat and protein concentration.
Fat Concentration Of Base Diet
If the base diet has a fat concentration of 3 - 4%, increasing it to 4 - 5.5% by feeding fat supplementation usually would not be a problem.
There are certain ingredients that have high fat content such as distillers grains or whole cottonseeds.
It is important to ensure that the total fat content stays below 6%.
Smaller Amounts Of Fat Supplementation
It is possible that feeding a smaller amount of fat supplementation could be effective.
The key fatty acids that do make it into the small intestine are absorbed into the bloodstream and deposited into tissues such as the reproductive tissues.
A small but steady supply of these important fatty acids streaming to the tissues will allow the tissues to accumulate the fatty acids and have the ready for reproduction purposes.
Hence, a smaller amount of supplementation fat (lower than 1.5% DM) could be beneficial for the animal.
Economic Assessment Of Fat Supplementation
It is hard to make an economic assessment of fat supplementation as there are many factors affecting it such as conception rate of herd, milk price, feed cost etc...
It is crucial to find out what is the increased in milk production versus the price of fat supplementation and the milk price.
If the increased in profit due to increased milk production is higher than the cost of fat supplementation, you should continue to feed the fat supplementation.
There are also other benefits from fat supplementation such as improved health or body condition that is not considered in the calculation.
If you are able to feed less than 1.5% DM of fat supplementation while still increasing conception rate or milk production, then the benefits would increase.