Berga Fat Article
Dr. Roland Adelmann- Berg+ Schmidt (GmbH & Co.)
The Third Generation of Rumen-Stable Fats
The basic substances for building an animal's body are minerals and proteins. For the
animal to move about or perform as it should it has to be supplied with energy from
outside in the form of carbohydrates and fats
An over-supply of energy can be stored as a fat reserve. In the course of evolution this type of reserve has proved the most useful in animals, as fat allows the highest concentration of energy.
Dairy cows need rumen-stable fat
Any recourse to energy reserves is a sign of an inadequate supply. Cows that have just
calved and high-performance dairy cows usually expend more energy in milk production
than they take up with their feed. Dairy cows can scarcely eat more than 25 kg dry
weight of feed per day. If no additional fat is given, this amount of feed is only enough for
about 26 litres of milk per day. At 8,000 litres per lactation period, at the latest, cows
have to be given extra energy, otherwise their organism will withdraw the necessary
energy from the body's own
Fats in the body are also the starting substance and store for various sexual hormones. Any excessive reduction of the fat reserves will have a negative effect on the animals' fertility. High-performance cows then have difficulty in conceiving again or maintaining the pregnancy over the full term. That may put an abrupt end to the career of a promising dairy cow.
Fats in the rumen
Ordinary feed fats always consist of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids, but the
unsaturated fatty acids are harmful to the bacteria of the rumen as soon as a certain
level is exceeded. The result is a reduced pH in the rumen and poorer digestibility of the
whole feed ration. The bacteria fight back by hydrogenating the unsaturated fatty acids;
they produce saturated fatty acids for their own protection.
But they can only manage this up to a total of 4 - 5 % fat in the feed. Hydrogenation is not an optimum solution either, since it gives rise to trans fatty acids that are said to reduce the proportion of fat in the milk.
Rumen-stable dried fats for high-performance cows
The first generation: calcium-saponified fatty acids
Rumen-protected fats increase the milk yield. In the 1980s the calcium-saponified fatty acids were developed for this purpose. They are insoluble in water, and that is presumably why they have little effect on fermentation in the rumen. Being a chemical reaction product they have various disadvantages, especially at the start of feeding (taste), and also in the pelletizing process (they do not melt). The pungent soap taste results in poor acceptance of the feed. A further problem is that calcium soaps may become unstable when the pH is reduced (in the rumen or in the silage).
The second generation: hardened palm fatty acids
The development of rumen-stable fatty acids - as opposed to rumen-protected fatty
acids with calcium soap - started in the 1990s on the basis of animal fatty acids (tallow
It was followed by our innovation Bergafat F-100 CLASSIC based on pure palm oil fatty acid. We achieved rumen stability by means of a special hardening process in which the melting point of palm fat was raised from 40 °C to 54 °C.
The third generation: fractionated palm fatty acids and triglycerides
Development continued with our product BERGAFAT F-100 PREMIUM. It is derived
from palm fatty acids solely by fractionation - i.e. without hardening and therefore without
trans fatty acids - and is therefore rich in palmitic acid.
The search for a high proportion of C-16 resulted in another major innovative step forward. Refined palm oil is separated physically into its different fatty acid blocks by fractionation only. We produce a palm fat rich in C-16 with a melting point of 56 °C without hardening - and therefore without trans fatty acids. Bergafat T-300 was the world's first palm triglyceride - i.e. with the important ingredient glycerol - to become available on the market for ruminants.
Rumen-stable fats offer nutritional benefits
Rumen-stable fats like Bergafat T-300 and Bergafat F-100 are not saponified, which means that the full energy content of the fats can be exploited. Their fatty acids are largely saturated so that they go through the rumen without impairing the natural conditions within it. Because of this the fats remain stable in the rumen even at a low pH. This is not generally true of saponified fats, in which the calcium may be split off from the fatty acid at the slightly reduced pH values that very often occur in high-performance cows. The pH in the rumen then falls even further and has a negative effect on the rumen bacteria. This may also explain why soaps are only about 70% rumen-stable. Bergafat is manufactured in powder form so that the large surface area ensures very good digestibility after the rumen in cattle.
The greatest need for energy is just after calving
The cow's ability to take up feed is lowest during calving, although its need for energy is greatest at that time. So the full dose of Bergafat is given immediately after calving. It is accepted so readily that there is no need for the cow to get used to it first. Saponified fats cannot be given in the full amount so early as their acceptance is reduced and there is a risk of udder oedema.
Rumen-stable Bergafat is based on palm oil only
To achieve traceability and uniform quality it is necessary to use only one starting
substance. The presence of the Berg + Schmidt Group in Malaysia and Singapore
ensures an optimum raw materials source for Bergafat.
Many other "rumen-protected" fats can only be produced on the basis of a variety of different oils or technical fatty acids of different origins, with the serious disadvantage that their quality and origin cannot be traced back.
Bergafat is capable of pelletizing and suitable for the TMR
Unlike the calcium-saponified fats, Bergafat T-300 and F-100 can be included in
industrially produced performance feed for dairy cows, since they are melted briefly by
the pressing temperature during pelletizing and then solidify again. That even makes
But in general Bergafat can also be fed to the cows directly in the TMR, in the farm's own feed mix.