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Maximising milk fat when it's needed the most...

Milk fat manufacturing and the grazing diet

Well managed grazing offers an excellent opportunity to gain financial success through its low cost and highly nutritious nature. However, many of the same nutritional factors that make grass a very valuable feed also hinder the cow’s ability to produce milk fat.

Grazing diets predispose cows to two main risk factors for reduced butterfat: high levels of unsaturated oil and low rumen pH. Highly digestible grass with low structural fibre reduces rumen pH, which disrupts normal unsaturated oil conversion pathways. Because of the low pH, the rumen converts the unsaturated oil to variants that inhibit milk fat manufacture when they reach the udder.

An opportunity not to miss

Maximising milk fat production throughout the grazing season is a financial opportunity worth extra attention. The majority of grazing cows don’t achieve their full potential, with 40% of herds experiencing milk fat under <3.6%. A typical milk fat drop is seen between April and August (figure 1) peaking around 0.5%. Correcting this presents an opportunity worth 34p per cow per day*.

*based on milk yield of 25 L, milk price of 25p with 0.27ppl bonus for each additional 0.1% milk fat (typical contract).

In addition to grazing, other farm scenarios can risk a reduction in milk fat manufacture:

  • Highly digestible diets

  • High acid load from silage

  • High levels of oil from distillery co-products

Using the proven technology of Equaliser rumen buffer, Equaliser® Cream has a two-pronged approach to maximise milk fat when it is most under pressure:

  • Helps maintain a healthy rumen

  • Normalises the rumen unsaturated oil conversion pathways

The effect of Equaliser® Cream is both significant and rapid. The farm in figure 2 below experiences a significant loss of earning every year due to a drop in milk fat of 0.5%; with the butterfat never going above 3.5% at grass and taking a long time to recover.

As seen in figure 2 milk fat recovered directly after the application of Equaliser® Cream and maintained the level throughout the risk period.

An additional benefit seen on this farm was an increase in diet digestibility evidenced by more consistent manure and an elimination of undigested cereal grains.

Equaliser® Cream offers a potential return on investment of: 3.5:1

Feeding rate 100-150 g/cow/day

Milk fat depression is an annual challenge, yet current solutions do not fully address the problem and only tackle one of the risk factors at a time. This is why Cargill has developed the solution Equaliser® Cream.

The improvements in milk fat can also have impressive results in terms of revenue:

The grass based farm described in figure 2 saw a revenue boost of:

1.3p/L --> 40p/cow/day

To read the full brochure on Equaliser® Cream by Cargill click the link below...

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