Every milk producer is confronted with
the same problem: whereas the nutrient demand of dairy cows increases sharply
at the start of lactation, it is very difficult to ensure an adequate supply. In the first
four or five weeks after calving, cows eat as much as 25 percent less than normal.
High-yielding cows, especially, expend more energy on milk production than they
can take in with their feed. That inevitably results in impaired health and metabolic
disorders, not least ketosis, and a reduced milk yield.
The cow’s body cannot synthesize enough
The cow tries to compensate for the energy deficit by mobilizing her body’s own fat reserves.
In this way fatty acids are released and esterified, forming triglycerides in the
liver. The latter are packed with lipoproteins to enable further transportation via
the bloodstream. Lecithin is needed for these metabolic processes, but nearly half
of all dairy cows are unable to synthesize enough in their own bodies. In such cases
fat is insufficiently broken down and fatty liver degeneration may result. The physiological
functions that control this important organ are correspondingly restricted.
Lecithin supplementation through the feed is therefore a wise measure in order to assist
the liver under extreme conditions.
Lecithin improves feed conversion
In its role as an emulsifier lecithin is also
an important link between fats and an aqueous environment, which greatly enhances
the digestibility of the fats. Lecithin enlarges the surface area of food
constituents which is open to attack and thus increases the efficacy of the digestive
enzymes. Even fat-soluble vitamins are absorbed better.
But improved digestibility is not only of
interest because of the potential nutrient deficiency at the start of lactation. On the
contrary: an additional supply of lecithin is advisable for all high-performance cattle
since rapid passage through the rumen and thus reduced digestibility of the nutrients
is a typical characteristic.
Lecithin controls fertility and “saves” on methionine
Besides their physiological effect on energy
metabolism, phospholipids also transport cholesterol; being a precursor for the synthesis
of prostaglandin, cholesterol has a direct influence on fertility. It strengthens the immune system and creates the conditions
for calving without complications. It helps to prevent retention of the afterbirth
and uterine inflammation and shortens calving intervals by ensuring ovulation
and oestrus at the proper time.
Lecithin is also the main source of choline,
which is needed for the transportation of lipids and is an important constituent
of biological membranes. Unlike choline chloride, lecithin supplies a choline
variant that is neutral in the digestive system and does not impair feed intake.
Indirectly, lecithin has the effect of “saving” on the essential amino acid methionine,
since intermediate choline synthesis is dependent on methionine. In
view of the proven importance of methionine for the cow’s milk yield, specific supplementation
of lecithin through the feed gains significance in this respect too.
High concentration with high efficacy
Fortifying feed with liquid crude lecithin is
a common method but involves problems. From the technical point of view crude lecithin
is difficult to process; moreover, its active phospholipid concentration is low.
With its decades of experience in lipids Berg+Schmidt’s development team has
been able to tackle these problems and find a solution in the shape of BergaFat
HTL-306 and BergaFat HPL-106. These products are free-flowing fat powders containing
6 % lecithin. Compared with oily and viscous crude lecithin the powder form
permits easier handling and more accurate dosing.
Lecithin supports the function of the
liver and protects dairy cows against life-threatening metabolic disorders.
This applies especially in high-performance phases when the cow is exposed
to a potential energy deficit as a result of inadequate nutrient uptake. A
balanced supply of lecithin offers optimum protection against ketosis and
milk fever. With BergaFat HTL-306 and BergaFat HPL-106 Berg+Schmidt offers a
highly effective supply of energy and a technically practical method of supplementing
the feed with lecithin.