Why feed fat
Fat is one of the essential nutrients in diets and, like other nutrients such as protein, fibre, minerals and vitamins, must be balanced in a ration to ensure optimum production.
Basal feed ingredients supply some of the fat requirements of the animal but inclusion of high fat supplements is often essential. There are many benefits to increasing diet fat concentration for dairy and other livestock, the major reasons including :
- Increased energy supply
- Increased milk yield
- Improved fertility
- Reduced acidosis – energy without acid
- Improved rumen function
- Formulation of more-balanced rations
- Improved animal health
- Improved feed efficiency – more output per unit feed intake
- Reduced environmental emissions – less methane
These benefits reflect the unique attributes of fats both as energy sources and through other factors not related to energy supply. It is important to remember that individual fatty acids have different metabolic functions which help determine the effect they may have on animal production.