Improving feed potential of tallow

As milk production increases in the dairy cow, the need for fat in the diet increases. Dr. Thomas Jenkins of the Department of Animal and Veterinary Sciences is investigating improvements to tallow for use as a dairy feed ingredient.

Use of the rendered animal fat tallow as a fat source in dairy rations is limited because tallow is a rumen-active fat source, which at high levels can interfere with fermentation within the rumen. In addition, tallow is solid or semi-solid, which causes difficulties in adequately mixing the fat into a ration.

Dr. Jenkins and his team are working to convert the tallow into a form that can be protected in the rumen to make it a more valuable fat source for dairy animal feeds. He also is working to improve the fluidity of the material to make it more easily handled. Dr. Jenkins’ project could significantly increase the value of tallow as a feed supplement.