Managing for Both Fat and Protein in a Tiered Pricing System, Dr. Kevin Harvatine, Penn State University

Posted: Januar 17, 2023


Dr. Kevin Harvatine, Penn State University and Dr. Yves Boisclair, Cornell University

Episode 61: Managing for Both Fat and Protein in a Tiered Pricing System

Podcast Topic

While maximizing milk production and improving feed efficiency continues to be top of mind, joining together around the pubcast to discuss the various factors are Dr. Kevin Harvatine and Dr. Yves Boisclair.


A leading expert in metabolic and energy nutrition and professor at Penn State University, Dr. Harvatine began the conversation by introducing his guest, Dr. Boisclair. He mentioned the collaboration between the two first began when he was finishing his doctorate degree at Cornell University under Dr. Boisclair. 1:30

Focused initially on regulating hormones, Dr. Boisclair said he quickly acknowledged the importance of shifting his research to better understand molecular mechanisms in dairy cows. 3:11

In a recent Real Science webinar, Dr. Harvatine said nutrition and management are the best practices. While higher production levels result in more milk pounds Scott Sorrell, podcast host and director of global marketing for Balchem, asked about the importance of dairy cow synthesis and pathways. 11:00

Dr. Harvatine said he likes to think of the three assembly lines as lactose, fat and protein. Within milk, he added the assembly lines would be novo synthesized fatty acids and the preformed fatty acids. He then added that in milk fat depression, the minimum a dairy cow can produce is a 50% decrease. 11:25

Based on the basic endocrine regulation, researchers have been able to adjust basic nutritional factors. In fact, Dr. Boisclair mentioned the prolactin cycle is not only essential during the last few weeks in pregnancy but also in lactation performance. 14:50

It’s not just about one enzyme. Metaphorically, the nutritional system works as a factory. When we think about making the assembly line of milk fat, it’s a series of enzymes we have to turn on, and when turned on, they go into molecular biology level. Dr Harvatine went on to mention the importance of understanding the correlation between the different components. 16:61

On the protein side, Dr. Harvatine believes there is a limiting factor causing a minimized response. In fact, when thinking about nutritional factors, he added it’s hard to have a 50-pound cow make as much fat protein as a 100-pound cow. Adding the main factor always isn’t nutrition, oftentimes it’s the lactation stage and endocrinology history. 34:30

What are some key suggestions for nutritionists in terms of increasing milk fat on the dairy, Scott asked? 48:37

Dr. Harvatine suggested nutritionists tailor goals to fit various budgets and individual operations, adding a few scenarios where various fat levels can be accepted. 50:54

Wrapping up the conversation, Dr. Harvatine emphasized the importance of understanding the complete system when it comes to producing more milk fat. He added the physiology component and hormonal responsiveness are just as important as increasing nutrition and feed efficiency. 1:04:01

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