By George Munene
PowerFat is a rumen-protected bypass fat feed supplement used by dairy farmers and animal feed manufacturers as a relatively cheap and effective way to introduce fats to dairy cows’ diets. It’s been shown to increase daily milk output by 2.3 liters as well as providing energy for improved fertility (helping cows recover faster after calving) and general health.
Decades of research and trial tests have shown that PowerFat increases milk output on average by around 2.3-4 litres/cow/day.
Cows fed on PowerFat show elevated conception rates, 84.8% to 51.9%. This is because when supplemented in diets, PowerFat improved energy balance and elevated progesterone emission; a hormone essential pre and post-parturition (birth).
It also supplies adequate energy to dairy cows during their lactation period increasing milk production.
Additionally, the supplement improves the palatability (taste) of other feedstuff, ensuring cattle feed optimally thus further increasing energy supply.
Rumen protected bypass fats help improve production efficiency through streamlined feeding, they give cattle extra energy that helps reduce body condition loss.
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Fats contain more than double the energy gotten from carbohydrates, making them an ideal quick fix for an energy-deficient diet. This is especially useful 80-100 days postpartum (after childbirth) when a cow’s energy demands outstrip her energy intake; this causes an ‘energy gap’ during the early lactation phase. This abrupt loss in weight often causes ketosis, a drop in milk output and future reproductive complications. Fatty liver formation might also occur leaving the cow susceptible to multiple metabolic and infectious diseases which reduce milk production and frequently lead to culling.
Bypass fats can be used throughout the lactation period. However, they are the most effective during this early lactation phase.
While cereal grains can be used by farmers to meet this energy deficit, grain overload can be toxic to cattle and is known as acidosis or grain poisoning.
Bypass fat was developed to provide the ideal solution to this conundrum for farmers.
They are made by reacting fatty acids with calcium forming calcium soap/calcium salt. By bypassing the rumen and being broken down in the abomasum, PowerFat bypass fat is 95 per cent digestible, making it easily absorbed from the intestine to provide all the energy needed by dairy cows.
Ideally, PowerFat should be incorporated into the animal’s ration over a few days to help acclimatise them to the new ingredient.
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As a catch-all five kilograms of PowerFat can be incorporated into 1000 kilograms of feed.
Lactating cows should be fed 400-800 grams a day. Dry cows, 125 grams a head; beef cows between 150 and 500 grams; sheep and goats between 50-100 grams.
Research work also indicates that the amount of fat to be fed should equal the amount of fat produced in milk. Fat may come from the diet or from body fat reserves.
As a baseline, cows producing 40 liters of milk with at least 4% (1.6kg/day) milk fat content will need to be supplemented with 1.6 kilograms of PowerFat daily.
PowerFat was developed by Influx Lipids, a Malaysian based company specialising in the manufacture of bypass fat and palm fat to help farmers increase their yield.
A 25-kilogram bag of PowerFat costs Sh5,000.
In Kenya, it is distributed by Medisel Kenya Limited: 0733552664