February 2011 Newsletter

This months linked article's:

Fat supplements - which one should you choose?

Over recent years the increasing milk yield of dairy cows has given rise to new challenges in managing the nutritional needs of these high performance animals. We know that cows are in negative energy balance during early lactation. This means insufficient energy is being taken in by the animal to fulfil the needs of the rapidly rising milk yield.

This leads to cows 'milking off their backs' and poor body condition which of course has the knock on effect of other problems, such as fertility. Increasing dietary fat is one method of improving energy intake. Many fat supplements contain 2½ to 3 times the M.E. of cereals so that the inclusion of such a product increases the energy density of the diet so the cows consume more energy per mouthful.

However, with numerous fat supplements in the market place it is vitally important to know the differences between them so that you know the one that is appropriate for your own objective on your farm. Fat supplements vary widely in their make-up and such things as % fat, the structure and make-up of the fat, and the degree of rumen protection of the fat. Adding a source of unprotected oil will increase then energy level of the diet as proper but it can also cause detrimental effects such as reduction of fibre digestibility and the lowering of butterfat levels. Products such as brewers grains and distillers grains can have this sort of effect. Supplementing the diet with a rumen protected fat removes these negative effects. The protected fat passes through the rumen and is then absorbed by the lower gut where it is then available for metabolism and the benefits of extra milk, better butterfat, better body condition, better fertility and overall better animal health.

Other fat supplements with high palmitic acid levels gives rise to 'C.16's' which have become popular over the past number of years and these are mainly used for increasing milk fat %. Some products such as these can also contain certain other constituents which will give other added benefits. An addition of fish oil, for example, will give greatly improved fertility in certain cases, while other contain ingredients to maximise herd health and condition score.

You, as the dairy farmer, have to pick your way through this minefield of fat supplements and with the rapid rise in cost of such products you have to be certain you make the right choice for your farm. We at GP Feeds have carefully studied lots of these products that are available to us and we feel that the ones we have to offer give you the best selection for you own individual farm circumstances. Overleaf we present our products, with each of their own individual features and benefits, to help you before making your decision.



  • In excess of 33 M.E
  • Manufactured in the UK and is the worlds' leading brand of protected fat
  • Dense, energy rich product to be used in TMR diets or in a compound or blend
  • Protein benefits include increased milk yield and milk solids and improved herd fertility
£820 / t

CS Plus

  • Manufactured in the UK
  • A fatty blend combined with a glucose preparation. The use of glucose syrup ensure that the fatty acids are released slowly in the rumen naturally
  • Specific fat profile high in 'C.16' ensures maximum butterfats " High energy to maximise milk yield and milk protein
  • Designed to maintain condition score
  • Promotes optimal liver function
  • Highly palatable
  • Use in TMR situations, compounds or blends
£657 / t

Omega Gold

  • Contains all the features and benefits of CS PLUS with added high levels of Omega-3's
  • Contains additional high quality salmon oil rich in Omega-3's
  • Feeding the fish oil enhance the progesterone and strengthens heats
  • Salmon oil is rich in the Omega-3's EPA and DHA which improve bulling and conception rates
  • Increases fertility
  • Conception rates to first service in the UK have dropped below 40% - this has to improve
£751 / t


(Reproduced with kind permission from Frank Wright Trouw Nutrition)

Consideration of the 2010 forage mineral results once again shows variation between years, forage types (cereal silages have a lower mineral content than grass silage) and individual farms. Whilst the trends in changing mineral content outlined below identify the broad issues requiring attention, it is important to utilise individual farm data in the total ration in order to accurately balance daily mineral supply against animal requirements on a year-round basis. In this way, mineral deficiencies and excesses can be avoided and farm profitability maximised.

Mineral Trends

When comparing 2010 against the previous 3 year average, a number of factors are of interest:


The average phosphorus content is lower this year by 5% and 15% in grass silage and cereal silages respectively. This may be a reflection of lower phosphorous output in slurry due to reduced phosphorous input through minerals and feeds closer matching daily requirements. Aluminium, which decreases the availability of phosphorus to the animal, is also significantly lower compared to previous years. Continued attention must still be given to ensure the dietary phosphorous balance is correct.


The average content of cobalt in silages is over 20% lower than the previous 3 years. This, like phosphorous, may be a reflection of lower and more accurate supplementation against livestock requirement resulting in less wastage in slurry. It remains critical to balance the requirements of 0.3 mg/kg DMI against total daily supply, as cobalt is required by rumen micro-organisms for fibre digestion.

A mixed ration would contains only 0.09 mg cobalt/kg DM from 50:50 grass:maize silage and as such requires supplementation with a farm mineral containing 60 mg/kg when fed at 100g per head per day. Clearly, cobalt supplementation is essential.


The selenium content of all forages remains around 0.05 mg/kg DM. This is significantly below the daily requirement of 0.3 mg/kg DMI and therefore supplementation is essential.


This years average copper content of 4 to 8 mg/kg DM are below the 3 year average for each forage by approximately 3 to 20% which again may reflect on a more accurate approach to farm supplementation. With a minimum copper requirement of 12 mg/kg DMI for cattle, which is above that supplied by forage, ration balance is essential. Furthermore, when considering copper levels it is essential to also review the key copper antagonists, iron, molybdenum and sulphur, which reduce the availability of dietary copper.

The iron content has decreased, indicating less soil contamination at ensiling. The average iron level in all forages is significantly above the typical requirement of 40 mg/kg DMI, so no iron supplementation is needed. Furthermore, this year's results show that 27.58% of all grass silages contain greater than 250 mg/kg DM of iron, putting them in the high range and more likely to cause copper lock-up.

Molybdenum has also decreased by some 5% and 25% in grass silage and maize silage respectively. However, 47% of grass silage samples contained molybdenum levels greater than 1.0 mg/kg DM placing them in the high range with the associated impact on copper availability with the average of these samples being 1.83 mg/kg DM.

Sulphur, on the other hand, is little changed.

On balance, the lower average copper supply from the forages analysed in 2010 is offset by its higher livestock availability due to the lower level of antagonists.

In summary

Averages show a trend but hide a wide range of results. It is always best to have the specific forages tested and feed a specially designed mineral to meet the animals' requirements in the most cost effective manner. Supplementation of livestock is essential to maximise year-round performance.

Grass Silage Mineral Averages

Maize Silage Mineral Averages

Whole Crop Mineral Averages

Fresh Grass Mineral Averages


Don't forget here at GP Feeds we specialise is supplying 'Custom Minerals'.
We sell more customised minerals than off the shelf - why?
Because to have profitable returns from your animals you need to feed the right products.

So if you need your forage analysed so that we can recommend a
mineral specific to you please give us a call on 01948 661602.




Gareth or Rachel (Office)
01948 661602 Fax 01948 871776