The average drop-off in milk quality experienced through spring and summer could cut milk price by more than 3ppl unless action is taken to boost milk fat and protein production, according to KW's nutritionist, Dr Anna Sutcliffe,

"Defra figures show average UK milk fat and proteins drop around 0.2-0.3% from their winter peak. On some milk supply contracts, that can equate to a loss of up to 3.2ppl," she argued.

Although some milk quality decline is inevitable even in housed herds – due to the dilution effect of rising yields as day length extends – it can be significantly reduced, claimed Dr Sutcliffe.

"As well as the nutrient profile of the diet, any factor that alters feed access, quality or intake can also influence milk quality. So start by reviewing feed and herd management to minimise potential limitations, such as trough space, feed spoilage or sub-acute ruminal acidosis (SARA)."

"In terms of ration changes, additional starch from sodawheat will boost microbial protein production and milk proteins with minimal SARA risk, whilst high sugar liquid feeds like Molale are an option for housed herds.

"Raise butterfats by increasing energy supply from digestible fibre, including feeds like soya hulls or Traffordgold moist feed and reformulating rations to improve rumen function," she adds.

"Finally, top up with rumen-bypass fat and protein as needed to make sure both yield and milk solids production are fully supported."