We know we discuss fatty acids on quite a frequent basis here at Volac Wilmar, but it’s something we’re pretty passionate about, having invested heavily in our research.
When it comes to deciding which fatty acid to feed your dairy cows, it’s not quite the minefield you might imagine. Put simply, the fatty acid requirements of your dairy herd are really determined by what you are aiming to achieve.
In this blog, we’ll break the decision-making down so that when it comes to selecting the right feed for your cows, you feel a little less like you’re sat in that big black Mastermind chair.
Desired outcome: I want more milk
In early lactation, the energy requirements of the dairy cow are high as a result of her genetic drive to produce milk. While all fatty acids provide energy which can be used to produce milk, supplementswill differ in response achieved.
MEGALAC is an ideal supplement to feed in early lactation as it contains both C16:0 (48%) and rumen-protected C18.1 (36%) fatty acids in calcium salt form. Protecting the fatty acids in this way means that they pass through the rumen intact, without disrupting rumen bacteria or fibre digestion, to then be digested in the small intestine and released as energy. The C18:1 fraction of Megalac is known to help reduce body condition loss which is critical during the early lactation period.
Did you know? The average increase in milk yield through feeding Megalac, recorded across 18 research studies, is 2.3 litres/cow/day from a standard supplement of 450-550 g per cow per day.
Desired outcome: I want more milk fat
When it comes to increasing milk fat content, C16:0 is the key player. This is where the Mega-Fat range comes into its own.
The high-C16:0 supplements are very effective in stimulating milk fat production, but it’s important to keep a check on cow body condition as C16:0 fatty acids can increase body weight loss and cows lose condition.
Mega-Fat 88, with 88% of those milk fat-boosting C16:0 fatty acids, is the key supplement for this target.
Desired outcome: I want to increase cow fertility
Getting your cow in calf is pretty fundamental when it comes to milk production, which is why we place so much emphasis on maintaining and improving optimum cow fertility.
The key element for high fertility is energy, something fat supplements provide in abundance. But we need to consider the fatty acid blend of any supplement used as C18:1 is the key fatty acid for improving development and survival of those developing eggs. Megalac would be the supplement of choice in this period for a fertility focus.
Omega-3 fatty acids are likely to be most beneficial with housed cows with no access to grazing or green grass; Mega-Flax would be an option in these scenarios with approximately a third of the fat being these essential omega-3 fatty acids.
One product fits all
Whether you’re after more milk, more milk fat, or increased cow fertility, Mega-Max is the ultimate product for all stages of lactation. Uniquely formulated with a specific research-proven balance of C16:0 and C18:1 fatty acids, it is proven to enhance performance across the board in milk yield, milk fat and body condition score, making it the go-to for many a dairy farmer.
Feeling a little more clued up?
We hope this blog has gone some way to demystifying the science behind our products. If you’d like more or more information on these or any others in our range, just click here >>>
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