Corn grain is fed as a major source of energy to lactating cows. However, the price of corn has increased tremendously in the past few years. How can the cows maintain proper energy levels to continue high milk production?
Besides feeding high quality forage, one may consider feeding fat.
Total fat should not be more than 7% of total DM.
When feeding 4 - 7% crude fat on a DM basis, it is important to watch out for the total amount and types of fat in the ration.
Additional fat can come from sources such as whole cottonseed or roasted soybeans.
Another readily available source of fat comes from distillers grains. It is recommended to not use more than 10% distillers grain in the ration.
When fat is added to the ration, it is crucial to maintain sufficient fiber and minerals.
One can use over 6% fat by using rumen bypass fats. However, the total % must be less than 7% fat in the ration.
The cost of rumen bypass fats may be higher than that of vegetable oil or tallow but it will have minimal impact on rumen fermentation.
The use of added fat in the ration can help increase energy density of ration and help to increase milk production.
Supplemental fat can also improve body condition after peak production.