Bypass Fats in Animal Nutrition

When it comes to feeding today’s dairy cow, selecting the best feed ingredients is incredibly important.

Bypass fats have become increasingly popular among dairy farmers in recent years because of their ability to significantly improve milk production and quality. In this post, we’ll explore why feeding bypass fats is so beneficial for dairy cows and how it can help increase your herd’s productivity and profitability.

What is Bypass Fat?

Bypass Fat gets its name from its inherent rumen inert properties. Bypass fat benefits from a sort of “protection”, which allows the fat to “bypass” the rumen to the small intestine where it can be absorbed and used by the cow, without significantly altering the rumen ecosystem. This creates an excellent energy source which can help increase milk, milk fat production, and body condition, while maintaining a neutral effect on the rumen, unlike alternative energy supplements.

Fatty Acids That Make a Difference

There are several fatty acids found in animal feeds. When supplementing energy in the ration, you can optimize your herd performance, tailored to the results you are looking for, by selecting the right combination of fatty acids, or “Fatty Acid Profile” (FAP). 

Studies have shown correlation between higher milk production and butterfat response when rations are supplemented with fats high in C16:0 Palmitic Acid and C18:0 Stearic Acid. Recent studies have also shown increased benefits in production and NDF digestibility when feeding a combination of C16:0 Palmitic Acid combined with 8-10% C18:1 Oleic Acid. 

Choosing your source of fats becomes even more important as you tailor your feeding program to your specific herd’s needs. With multiple products available, you can select fats based on your preference of milk yield, butterfat and body condition. You can pick the best profile for your farm.

The Benefits of Feeding Bypass Fats to Dairy Cows


Increased Milk Production

Bypass fats are a highly concentrated source of energy, and feeding it to dairy cows can help increase milk production.


Improved Milk Quality

Bypass fats can also improve the quality of milk, making it higher in fat and calcium.


Reduced feed costs

Since bypass fats are a more efficient source of energy than other types of feed, it can help reduce feed costs.


Improved Cow Health

Bypass fats are easier for cows to digest than other types of feed, as a result, it can help improve overall cow health.


Lower Emissions

Bypass fats can also help reduce methane emissions from dairy cows.

Did You know?


Up to 12% of feed energy intake can be lost as methane gas? Feeding bypass fats to dairy cows can help reduce methane emissions from the cows because fat is not fermented in the rumen, like other feed – which is beneficial for both the environment and the cow’s health.

When to Feed Bypass Fats?

Feeding bypass fats to dairy cows is an effective way to improve milk production, can help cows meet their increased energy demands, and improve milk quality. 

In many situations, bypass fats are fed through all stages of lactation and in the dry period. However, the greatest times of need to supplement with fats are during the early lactation period and during periods of high milk production.

During the early lactation period, cows are typically in a negative energy balance due to the high demand for energy required for milk production. Feeding bypass fats can help cows maintain their body condition and improve milk production.

During periods of high milk production, cows can use the supplemental energy to push a higher volume of milk, and with the right fatty acid profile, increase their butterfat as well.


Best Practices for Feeding Bypass Fats to Dairy Cows

There are a few things to keep in mind when feeding bypass fats to dairy cows:

Bypass fats should be fed in conjunction with other feeds, such as hay or silage. It should not be fed as the sole source of nutrition.

Bypass fats should be introduced gradually into the diet, so that cows have time to adjust to it and avoid digestive upsets.

Cows should have access to fresh water at all times when they are being fed bypass fat, as it can increase their thirst.

When used properly, bypass fats can be a valuable tool for helping dairy cows maintain their body condition during peak milk production.

How to Choose the Right Bypass Fat Product for You?

Depending on your herd’s needs, there are several considerations when selecting the right bypass fat. Things you should consider are:

      • Your Goal – Increase milk yield, butter fat, body condition, or all of the above.
      • Stage of lactation – Do you want to supplement calcium? Are energy requirements higher, thus requiring a higher crude fat product?
      • Cost – Are you feeding the most economical fat, for how you are being paid for your milk?

The main types of bypass fats, their potential benefits and EFI’s product offerings are summarized below:

Fat Type
Main Fatty Acids (Typical)
Key Benefits
EFI Product
Calcium Salt
Increase Milk Yield and Butterfat; Supplement Calcium
High Palmitic Acid
C16:0, C18:0, C18:1
Increase Butterfat and Milk Yield
High Palmitic Acid
C16:0, C18:0, C18:1
Increase Butterfat, Milk Yield and Fatty Acid Digestibility
High Palmitic Acid
C16:0, C18:0, C18:1
Increase Butterfat and Milk Yield
Blended Fatty Acid
C16:0, C18:0
Increase Milk Yield, Butterfat and Body Condition
Blended Fatty Acid
C16:0, C18:0, C18:1
Increase Butterfat, Milk Yield and Body Condition


Bypass fats are an important part of a dairy cow’s diet, and maximizing profits on farm, as it helps to improve the quality of milk and their overall health. By providing cows with the right bypass fat, farmers can ensure that they produce high-quality milk while also helping their cows remain healthy and happy.

With all these benefits, there’s no doubt that bypass fats should be a staple in any progressive dairy farmer’s diet plan for their herd!

Contact us to learn more about how EFI’s premium bypass fat lineup can help you.