Feeding rumen-protected fat supplements remain profitable going into late summer

Updated milk contract prices for August and September show UK dairy farmers are still achieving notable returns on investment upwards of 88 percent when feeding rumen-protected fat supplements, shows data from Volac Wilmar Feed Ingredient’s performance-to-financial correlation model.

Across the board, dairy farmers are seeing an increase in both manufacturing and liquid milk contract prices to help offset the increasing cost of production, says Paul Fransen, the model developer and Business Development Manager for Volac Wilmar Feed Ingredients.

Arla Foods increased its standard manufacturing contract to 50.35ppl from August 1st onwards. From September 1st, farmers on Müller contracts who meet the herd health and environmental conditions for the Müller Advantage programme will receive 47ppl, up 1ppl from the set August price. It was announced in late July that Müller farmers part of the Sainsbury’s Dairy Development Group would be receiving an additional 1ppl in August for a price of 47ppl. Tesco quickly followed suit, increasing its August price rise from 46ppl to 47ppl for the 1st of September. Other buyers such as Saputo Dairy UK have implemented even greater price increases upwards of 1.5ppl, with a 49.50ppl standard manufacturing price going into effect in September.

“For those on manufacturing contracts at 47ppl, feeding a rumen-protected fat supplement in calcium salt form resulted in a return on investment of 71 percent, increasing to 78 percent for contracts set at 50ppl,” explains Mr Fransen. “Producers on liquid contracts at 47ppl also saw financial benefit in feeding calcium salt fat supplements with a return of 88 percent.”

Calcium salts of fatty acids are commonly used in the dairy industry. These products combine fatty acids with calcium ions producing a rumen-insoluble supplement, with Volac Wilmar’s calcium salt supplement, Megalac, containing a fatty acid composition of ~48% C16:0 (palmitic) and ~36% cis-9 C18:1 (oleic).

High C16:0 fat supplements also continue to hold a place for producers with Volac Wilmar’s Mega-Fat 88 supplement giving manufacturing contracts at 47ppl and 50ppl a 57 percent and 65 percent return on investment, respectively. Those on a liquid contract at 47ppl saw a return of 33 percent.

Calculating ROI

The calculator works by collating current feed prices and data from two individual meta-analyses from Dr Adam Lock’s group at Michigan State University. This has allowed for informed predictions on the expected return on investment when considering feed efficiency, milk composition, milk yield and fertility benefits of feeding rumen-protected fat supplements.

“The fatty acid composition of a fat supplement will impact different areas of cow performance,” says Mr Fransen. “Therefore, it is essential to look at the full extent of which fat supplements will impact your herd’s performance and milk contract before putting them in or taking them out.”

To calculate your return on investment for feeding fat supplements in rations, contact Volac Wilmar Feed Ingredients at megalac.com.