Given the increased demand for butter on the wholesale market, pushing butterfat levels by manipulating in winter rations could add £2,400 to the monthly milk cheque.
Consumers are switching back to butter and away from margarine and this, coupled with the influence of more baking programmes on TV, has seen a surge in demand for butter. And processors have responded by increasing the prices that producers receive on some contracts, should they both meet and exceed the target levels of 4% butterfat, according to Trident Feeds.
Increase butterfat levels
To make the most of the bonus payments on offer, company nutritionist Bethany May suggests that producers including a C16:0 protected fat to dairy rations, to further increase butterfat levels. "Housing is the perfect opportunity to push milk constituent levels, because butterfat levels tend to rise due to the lack of reliance on grazing and the use of a fully controlled winter ration," she explains.
"Products, such as Butterfat Extra, can be incorporated easily into well-balanced rations and immediate improvements to milk fat percentages can be seen, with production responses of up to 0.3%." She adds that, due to the current favourable prices, the inclusion of the product can be financially rewarding. "For example, most milk contracts now incorporate a reward structure for higher butterfat and protein percentages, with some paying more for milk that meets the higher percentage bands and producers achieving premium prices," she explains.
"Assuming a 0.3% lift in butterfat and one-litre increase in milk yield is achieved from feeding 300g per head of Butterfat Extra, a herd of 200 cows with an average liquid contract could see a net return of up to £2,400 per month. This is a substantial return on investment. With milk yields also increasing by one litre per day, its inclusion is improving both constituent quality alongside extra litres," adds Miss May.