Modern day farmers are seeking to increase ration energy level for high producing cows. Supplemental fat has been a very popular choice as it helps to retain body condition and improves reproductive performance. Fat also contains 2.25 times more energy as compared to carbohydrates sources such as common grain or forage.
With that being said, not all fat sources are created equally. From studies, it is shown that supplemental fatty acids have different effects on the milk production as well as persistency of production. It is also observed that cows at different stages of lactation use individual fatty acids differently due to metabolic status.
Choosing Fat Sources
Before purchasing any fat products in the market, it is crucial to use products that feature published research from reputable sources.
There is a risk that the fats from unknown vendors may contain considerable impurities which will lower the fatty acid and energy content of the product.
Most processed fats are recovered as waste fats and they can vary widely in terms of quality.
Hence, when purchasing fat products, consistency, reliability and proven results are crucial.
Feeding supplemental fat may have some downward impact on the dry matter intake. However, it increases milk volume and milk fat yield, which increases feed efficiency.
Evaluate the feed ingredients on the totality of their impact, not just one aspect.
Have a plan to monitor the performance of your cows as you start to feed them to ensure you have chosen the right fat supplement for your herd.