Many farmers are concerned at the low levels of butterfat in their cow’s milk and are wondering what they can do about it. The reasons for the low butter fat levels are not clear nor the methods for raising them but there are some clues. Compared to 5 years ago when fats were not a problem, forage qualities have improved, there is more maize silage grown now, and the effects of genetically improved cows are now manifest.

UFAC (UK) Ltd. has investigated the position and proposes a different approach by looking at the metabolic fat balance within the cow on a factorial basis.Take a cow giving 50 litres of milk for example at a target of 4% fat content amounts to 2000g fat. It is recognised that some of this fat is manufactured from the short chain fatty acids and the rest extracted from the blood. The commonly accepted figure is that 40% is manufactured and 60% taken from blood fat. It can be assumed that 350g fat would be used for maintenance and a maximum release of fat from the body of 250g This leaves a balance from the diet of 1300 g. This figure is fat in the blood and has to be converted to dietary fat. Assuming the cow eats 24 kg dry matter the fat level required in the diet is 8.3% DM basis!

UFAC (UK) Ltd. thus believes that a start to coming against the butterfat problem would be to feed more fat. This is not so easy as it seems as fats can cause oil slicks in the rumen, knock out celluloytic bacteria, reduce fibre digestion, reduce appetite and cause other metabolic problems. Calcium soaps used to be safe but are now being broken down in the rumen because of the larger rumen volume and larger quantities of acid present so their effect is limited. Cows can use high levels of fat provided it is supplied on a slow release system, which UFAC (UK) Ltd. has developed. The udder in preference to others takes up specific fatty acids and UFAC has used this knowledge in conjunction with GP Feeds to manufacture a product called Mega - Jewel that specifically has the right Oils that contain the correct fatty acid profile on a slow release carrier. This over the last year has increased the fat level in the milk fed @ the rate of 0.5Kg /Head / day be that in compound or TMR. If you are having a low butterfat problem at present Mega-Jewel could well be worth trying. Call the office or ask your agent for further details.