Dismissing protected fats could put high yielder performance at risk

Dismissing rumen-protected fats due to the continued low milk price risks leaving high yielding and early lactation cows short of energy, over-reliant on body reserves and in danger of underperforming well into next year, warns KW nutritionist Mark Scott.

“Maximising milk from forage by properly balancing the rumen is a top priority this winter,” he states. “Feeding rumen-protected fats in early lactation can help support higher yields without over-loading the rumen, as well as improving milk quality and fertility.”

According to Mr Scott, attempting to correct any energy shortfall in high performing rations using only extra fermentable energy – such as in cereals – will overload the rumen, trigger sub-acute ruminal acidosis (SARA) and end up reducing, not increasing, both energy supply and milk from forage.

“300g/cow of a 100% fat like Goldenflake supplies the same energy as almost 1kg of rolled wheat, and can lift yields by 2 litres/cow/day, butterfats by 0.2% and reduce body condition loss.

“For a daily cost of just 21p/cow, that’s a better return on investment than traditional feeds will achieve and still worthwhile even at current milk prices,” he adds. “The key is to target cows capable of using the extra energy to produce a good response, and that’s going to be high yielders and those in early lactation.”

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