Milk production has to be profitable!
So it’s only too understandable that farmers,
faced with rising costs, demand the
highest possible price for the milk they
produce. But the milk money paid is only
half the battle when it comes to maximizing
profits and ensuring a reliable income.
It is just as important for farmers to
be aware of the cost side of the balance,
all the more so as agricultural raw materials
become scarcer and more expensive.
Feed is expensive. The price of feed wheat,
for example, has more than doubled in the
past two years and the cost of milk performance
feed has risen by nearly 50 percent.
These developments have a noticeable effect
on milk production, for according to a
recent analysis of German farms, feed costs
account for 70 to 80 percent of the total
direct costs. But the nutritional requirements
of a dairy cow must not be ignored.
In view of the complex digestive system of
ruminants, impaired health and a loss of
performance would inevitably result if the
price of the individual components of the
feed ration were the only yardstick.
Increasing the efficacy of feed
The best course is to make intelligent changes to the ration in order to increase
the efficacy of the feed. That means choosing components which are largely
transformed directly into performance without impairing the efficacy of other
types of feed. In the case of dairy cows it is primarily the energy sources that have to
be considered from this angle. High-yielding dairy cows need special care in the first
phase of lactation, for as a rule they expend more energy on producing milk than
they can take in with their regular feed. If they are given unsuitable sources of energy
at this time the result may be metabolic disorders involving a long-term loss
of performance, which can greatly reduce the profitability of a dairy farm.
The subtle difference: “rumen-stable” is more than just “rumen-protected”!
It was no doubt a minor revolution when the rumen-protected (bypass) calcium
soaps first attracted attention over 30 years ago. But the initial enthusiasm soon
gave way to disillusionment because the pungent soap smell put the cows off their
feed. A further disadvantage is that larger amounts of feed concentrate, low pH
values in standard rations and in the rumen, impair the stability of Ca soaps. If the
rumen protection of Ca soaps is lowered, unsaturated fatty acids are released and
hydrogenated by the rumen bacteria to form saturated fatty acids. This “distracts”
the bacteria from their proper tasks and reduces the rumen-protected energy.
BergaFat, on the other hand, is rumen-stable by nature since its fat fractions
melt at about 54 °C and are independent of the pH. The fatty acids are saturated
enough not to damage the microbes in the rumen. As a result the fats reach the
small intestine unchanged; there they are broken down by enzymes and converted
Results of the trials
Average performance of the groups over the trial period from 24 April to 7 August 2008:
|Quantity of milk (kg/day)
|Quantity of milk corrected to 3.5 %
|Energy-corrected milk quantity
[ECM (kg/d) = (0.39*fat %+0.24*protein %+0.17* lactose %) milk kg/3.17]
|Milk money per cow and day (1)
|Additional milk money per cow and day
|Ca soap MegaLac
||- 0.42 €
||+ 0.45 €
|Additional income per cow and day
||- 0.42 €
||+ 0.21 €
(1) 0.34 €/kg milk at 3.7 % fat and 3.4 % protein and an addition/deduction of 0.025 €/fat % and 0.05 €/protein %
An extra portion of energy!
Various different types and qualities of
fats are used as additional sources of
energy, but Ca soaps and native feed fats
are less suitable as they do not meet the
requirements of a ration for ruminants.
In BergaFat F-100 and BergaFat T-300
Berg+Schmidt offers two high-energy fat
powders made from fractionated palm fat;
they are naturally rumen-stable and reach
the small intestine unchanged. There they
are available to the animal as an efficient
source of energy and also offer the farmer
the possibility of supplying his cows with
a form of energy that suits the animal and
its performance and is economical into the
The use of BergaFat T-300 is more economical than Ca soaps
Practical trials carried out recently in cooperation
with the University of Rostock
demonstrate the superiority of BergaFat
T-300 over Ca soaps and the control group in respect of performance and economy
(see table). In these trials the energycorrected
milk quantity (ECM) increased by
1.86 kg of milk per cow and day as compared
to the control group; for the farmer
that means additional income of 0.21 € per
cow and day. With a herd of 200 dairy cows
and a period of 100 lactation days per cow in which BergaFat T-300 is administered,
the additional income amounts to 4,200 €.
Other advantages resulting from reduced
veterinary costs and greater fertility are
not included in this calculation and would
raise the additional profit further. Unlike
BergaFat T-300, Ca soaps did not enhance
the cows’ performance. Based on the actual
cost of the feed the Ca soap MegaLac
reduced the income from milk money by
0.42 € per cow and day as compared to the
control group. At 200 cows and a feeding
period of 100 days that results in a loss of
Choice of the right rumen-stable energy
source has an important influence on
the financial success of a dairy farm.
Rumen-stable BergaFat T-300 and its
fellow product BergaFat F-100 enable
dairy farmers to raise the energy content
of a feed ration as necessary in order to
achieve noticeably better performance.
The profit and loss account shows a
definite improvement in the profit situation.
Because of their outstanding
economic and nutritional advantages,
BergaFat T-300 and F-100 have for many
years been a regular component of rations
for ruminants in the world’s biggest