Managing Milk Fat Depression through Winter and Spring

Milk is composed of approximately 13% solids (fat, protein, lactose and minerals) and 87% water. As the milk payment system is based on component yield, Fat and Protein determine the value of milk. Besides economic loss, milk fat depression for longer periods may also have negative implications on herd conception rate.

Milk Fat Depression (MFD) is a multi-factorial issue. Although a lack of adequate  bre in a cow’s diet has been implicated for MFD, scientific research over the last decade has also identi ed a few more possible reasons. These factors are the amount of rumen unsaturated fatty acids consumed by cows through pasture, high protein low NDF pastures and
the possible role rumen modifiers have, particularly Monensin Sodium.

No single dietary factor is responsible for milk fat depression. Cows may be on the “edge” and be pushed over by one small change in the diet. However, the common reasons of MFD during winter and spring are low levels of  fibre in the diet, imbalance of protein and energy, or conditions that causes a significant drop in rumen pH.

To help prevent milk fat depression:

• provide extra fi bre in the form of highly digestible (>70%) soft cereal hay, especially when pasture is lush;

• maintain adequate energy – protein balance in your dairy pellets;

• If it is impractical to provide hay or straw in the field then consult with the CopRice Nutrition Team to try an alternative measure, thus turning around the situation.

For more details please feel free to contact CopRice on 1800 26 77 42