1. Home
  2. Agripedia

Should you provide bypass fat to dairy animals to increase milk production?

In dairy farming, high yielding cows and buffaloes after parturition or delivery of calf start losing their body weight. This lowers the body condition scoreand leads to negative energy balance in the animal.

Dairy Animal

In dairy farming, high yielding cows and buffaloes after parturition or delivery of calf start losing their body weight. This lowers the body condition scoreand leads to negative energy balance in the animal. This is also followed by animal not producing milk up to its full potential.This is because, the demand for energy during milk production in the early part of lactation exceeds the energy supplied through feeding. This means that feed ingested by the animal is not fulfilling its energy requirement.

Cow with new born calf
Cow with new born calf

The weight loss is mainly because the animal diverts its stored fat or body reserves towards mammary gland to meet its huge requirements for nutrients, especially the energy requirement. But even this body reserve is not sufficient to bring out the real potential of the animal for milk production, which ultimately results in decrease in milk yield.The lower supply of energy through feed than what is actually needed by the animal also affects the reproductive efficiency of the animal. It can lead to delayed conception after calving.

In such a situation, it is of no use if you are giving excess feed. If more roughage is fed, in the first place, the animal may not accept it. And even if it consumes more, it shall occupy more rumen space and directly affect feed digestibility.And if we try to give more of high energy concentrates, that shall cause a dangerous situation of Acidosis, due to more production of propionic acid in rumen. This can result not only in lower fibre digestibility, but also the disturbance at the metabolic level / tissue level, causing the condition called ketosis.

But fortunately, today we do have a solution to overcome this problem of low energy intake after parturition than the actual requirements. Yes, through the technology of Bypass Fat. Bypass fat is available commercially as (Calcium salt of fatty acids)   in the form of granules.It is indeed a denisified form of high energy supplement as fat, to deliver sufficient energy to the animal for maintaining the tempo of lactation as well as reproduction. Apart from improving milk production, it also improves body condition score and fertility of the animal. Bypass fat is also useful in preventing the metabolic disease called ketosis, caused by high grain feeding.

You can feed bypass fat to high yielding dairy animals. Bypass fat is nothing but a rumen protected densified energy source. It takes care of the energy needs of the animal for maintaining the tempo of lactation as well as reproduction, and at the same, it time does not allow the animal to go into negative energy balance. If you want to make your dairy farm profitable you must maximize the energy intake of your animals and minimize negative energy balance by giving bypass fat supplements.

Bypass Fat
Bypass Fat

By pass fat, as the name suggests, bypasses rumen, not allowing it to get hydrolyzed in rumen, but goes directly into the abomasum and is digested in the small intestines. Here it is absorbed as fatty acids for its onward journey towards body tissues, especially mammary gland (in the case of lactating animal).  Otherwise, the unprotected fat which gets hydrolyzed in rumen could hamper fiber digestion in rumen, as the rumen environment does not become congenial   for cellulose degrading organisms in rumen.

Many cattle feed manufacturers add bypass fat in the compound feed. However, Bypass fat is also commercially available. It may be given @ 150 to 200 g/ day to high yielding animals.

Thus, feeding of Bypass Fat increases Milk Yield as well as Fat percent of Milk,  rather causing a substantial increase in Fat Corrected Milk Yield. It is better to use bypass fat as a supplements to high yielding dairy animals, especially during early part of lactation, when the demand of nutrients by mammary gland is huge, so that the lactation curve attains its desirable peak.However, from my personal experience, the ideal situation for feeding of bypass fat supplement to dairy animal in early part of lactation is, during hot humid conditions.

A feeding trial was conducted during hot humid conditions on high yielding cross bred cows in early lactation at a farmer’s dairy farm. The animals were given complete feed blocks containing bypass fat supplement. To our delight, the farmer reported that the milk yield of the cows had not fallen but maintained, and at the same time the animals were not panting and not showing heat stress condition,  as generally happens due to heat and humidity.

During the hot humid condition, the animal has to use part of its energy to get rid of its additional body heat load (Air conditioning effect). When this happens, a signal from the Central Nervous System forces the animal to lose its appetite, resulting in lower feed intake. Because, the ingestion of roughage further increases the heat load in the body, generated through heat of fermentation in rumen.

Benefits of feeding bypass fat to dairy animals:

1. Increases the flow of amino acids to intestines for absorption and utilization at tissue level

2. Increases growth rate of calves (cow/ buffalo) by 20 -25 %.

3. Decreases age at first calving in females, improves libido and semen quality in males, thus, resulting in early maturity of male and female calves.

4. Increases milk yield of cows and buffaloes by at least 10-20 %

5. Decreases inter-calving interval and improves conception rate

6. There is absolutely no adverse effect of feeding bypass fat to animals or having any effect on milk quality. In fact, there may be slight increase in the SNF content of milk.

To learn more about the latest techniques in dairy nutrition please subscribe to the online course on "Advanced Dairy Nutrition" by Teplu. Click on the link to know more.


International No Diet Day 2024 Quiz Take a quiz
Share your comments
FactCheck in Agriculture Project

Subscribe to our Newsletter. You choose the topics of your interest and we'll send you handpicked news and latest updates based on your choice.

Subscribe Newsletters