FAT FEEDING - the role of fatty acids

Many dairy farmers use fat supplements as an energy source to improve milk production and fertility. However, what we describe as ‘fat’ is actually composed of individual ‘fatty acids’ and it is the balance of these different fatty acids which results in a particular response when supplemented to dairy cows.

Structure of palmitic (C16:0) fatty acid

There are five major fatty acids in dairy diets and each has a unique mode of action and potentially a different role to play at different times during the lactation.

Volac Wilmar offer a range of products containing the key fatty acids requiring supplementation in a dairy cow’s diet.

Fatty acid profile of Volac Wilmar products (% total fatty acids)

Based on fatty acid profile, individual products can be targeted to specific parts of the lactation or to meet particular objectives on farm. For example: Megalac – use in early lactation to increase milk production, fertility and body condition, but can be offered throughout lactation to improve milk production Mega-Fat range – particularly beneficial for increasing milk fat production and to increase milk production in mid-late lactation Mega-Flax – use in early lactation to improve fertility.


Feeding 500g per day of Megalac @ £700 per tonne costs 35p per day and will give on average, an extra 2.3 litres of milk. At a milk price of 26.7 ppl, the value of the extra milk is 61.5p with a margin of 27p –that is one free litre of milk perday per cow!

Where does milk fat come from ?

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