Tips for optimizing your fat production as well as your milk cheque

A portion of your milk cheque income is directly related to the amount of fat in the milk your cows produce. And, a large proportion of your gross profits are linked to milk fat.

The fat present in milk is influenced by 5 factors:

  • Management
  • The animals (genetic selection)
  • Environment
  • Diet
  • Intestinal health of the animal

Here are some tips that could help you maximize your milk fat production:

Focus first on the health of the rumen

Rumination contributes to the production of substances such as acetic acid, which favours milk fat. Increased rumination time, up to a maximum of 500 minutes per day, has demonstrated improvements in the milk fat test. Space at the manger and level of fibre, in particular, are examples of elements likely to optimize the rumination. In TMR, having too many long particles increases sorting and may cause a decrease in the fat content in the milk. Too fine of a ration is not desirable either.

Serve the ration in two meals rather than one

Research (Sova et al., 2013) indicates that increasing the number of meals from one time per day to two times per day can result in an increased dry matter intake of 1.42kg and increased milk production of 2.0kg/cow/day. Also, remember to push the ration as often as possible.

Ensuring unlimited access to the feed bunk, especially after milking – at least 24 inches of space per cow at the bunk - will have the added benefit of reducing competition at the feed bunk.

In individual feeding, serving several small meals of concentrates of up to four kilograms per feeding, also contributes to a healthy ruminal pH.

Make more milk

To make more kilograms of fat, the equation is simple: make more milk (keeping the same fat percentage, or increasing it).

Provide fresh, clean water at all times

To make milk, it takes water. In loose housing, a minimum of four linear inches at the water trough is required. In tie stalls, a minimum flow of 20 litres per minute is required at all times.

Monitor equipment

Milk that has been frozen or over agitated in the tank may cause a drop in the milk fat test.

Minimize heat stress

Heat stress is known to cause a decrease in consumption and thus affect the production of milk and components. We have observed in our monthly compilations of peak lactations that the negative impact is observable for months after the heat stress event.

Avoid energy deficits

No energy means no fat. Remember, 50% of milk fatty acids are synthesized in the mammary gland and the rest comes from the cow’s diet.  

Pay attention to feed additives

Specific nutrients like magnesium oxide, potassium carbonate, sodium bicarbonate, yeast, vitamins, rumen modifiers and protected or free fats are all ingredients that need special attention given their influence on the milk fat test.

Watch the growth of heifers

For every extra kilogram of pre-weaning gain of calves, it has been observed that the future cow will produce 1,500 kilograms more milk during the first lactation. Pay especial attention to the colostrum and milk phases, including a correct transition to solid feed.  

Promoting gut heath

Ruminal health has been a focus for many years but new research is now showing the importance of a healthy gut for fat production.

Management and dietary efforts can help you improve your income and ensure healthy animals.

Contact our team of Dairy Nutrition Advisors to see how we can help you increase your milk fat production and maximize your milk cheque.



For more information please contact our team of Dairy Nutrition Advisors or your local Shur-Gain dealer.