Le Producteur de Lait Québécois MagazineVolume Number October 14, 2020
Débora SantschiPh.D., Agr.

PROFILab in bulk tank milk: what’s next?

PROFILab dans le lait de réservoir: ce qui s'en vient

In collaboration with Daniel Warner, Innovation and Development, Lactanet

The fatty acid profile of bulk tank milk has been available to Quebec dairy producers since February 2020. Let’s take a look at what’s on the horizon…

The bulk tank fatty acid profile has proven to be very useful for several producers to optimize feeding and herd management, or to get a better understanding of cow metabolism and performance. We will gain a more accurate understanding of this indicator as we use it more. It will undoubtedly become very interesting to use the fatty acid profile to predict a change in component levels, before the fat or protein levels actually change.

As an example, Figure 5 presents the profile of a herd in the summer of 2019, where we see that there were significant changes in the fatty acid profile in July and August. The first changes occurred in early July when body fat reserves were mobilized after a breakdown in the feeding equipment. The second change, on August 5, had a major impact on the fatty acid profile but didn’t affect fat and protein levels. Later in August, a change of the same magnitude as in July, but longer lasting, lead to an upheaval of the components and a drop in protein levels, which took several weeks to return to normal. Would this decline been avoided with PROFILab? Perhaps, or it might have lessened the impact.

Figure 5

Upcoming projects include a warning system indicating changes in the fatty acid profile that will enable producers and their service providers to react more quickly and prevent disastrous effects, and incorporating new and powerful analytical techniques such as machine learning. Also on the radar: predicting feed efficiency and methane production for lactating cows, and identifying biomarkers to certify grass-fed dairy herds. Stay tuned…

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