Saturated fatty acids in milk – variation through a season (UK)

Fatty acid profile of bulk milk deliveries vary considerably throughout the year in the UK, reflecting major changes in diet composition as cows move from typical high-concentrate, low-forage winter rations to more forage-based rations at turnout to grazing. Figure 1 presents average weekly saturated fatty acid (SFA) concentration in milk of National Milk Laboratory (NML)-recorded herds in Great Britain through a season (data represent approximately 55,000 bulk tank measurements per month). 

These data show that concentration of SFA peaked at just over 70% in mid-winter but reached a trough of 62% in early summer. Concentration of SFA can also vary greatly between individual cows and farms.

Average SFA in NMLFigure 1      Average SFA in NML-recorded herds in GB through a season (Bartlett; National Milk Records, UK)