Are you still feeding C16's this winter?

Are you still feeding C16s this winter?  If so, why?

With C16 in short supply and costs nearing £1400/t on farm (Dec 2021) is it really worth feeding?  Are you really getting any benefits on farm?

Feeding straight C16 will only affect around 40% of the cow’s actual butterfat production, so will only increase your butterfats by 0.2% at a maximum.

As I expected this year, once I started taking the first silage samples in late summer/early autumn, we are seeing less milk this year and greater solids.  This is backed up by the latest national production reports from AHDB.

Why are we seeing less milk and more solids?  Simply because there is lots of bulky, fibrous grass silage around that is lacking energy.  This is because most people made silage late this year because of the wet couple of weeks we had in May.

Therefore, do you need the butterfat increase? Or are you paying for vanity not sanity?

I’m seeing it time and time again with clients that the milk is down this year, but the solids are up, and when the sums are done, they are financially in a better place for it, particularly with the majority of local milk buyers wanting and paying for solids.

I’ve then with some clients removed the C16 that was being fed, to a palm free alternative to calcium soap to ensure the correct energy density of the diet has been maintained and we are not seeing any drop in milk solids.

With this alternative approximately £900/t on farm, that is a saving of nearly £500/t!

Therefore, assuming the same feed rate, for example 300g/cow/day, then that is a saving of 15p/cow/day!  Or for a 200-cow farm that could be a saving of £900/month! Got to be worth considering when solids shouldn’t be a problem this year.

If you’d like to discuss how to go C16 free or simply a review of your winter diet, then please call FAR registered Dairy Nutritionist & CowSignals® Master Andrew Jones on 07717 44288 or email