Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Animal Performance and Feed Efficiency

Fatty acids, like amino acids, minerals and vitamins are nutrients required by the animal for maintenance and growth. Fatty acids are used by animals for energy, cell membrane structure and integrity.  Essential fatty acids cannot be synthesized by the animal in adequate amounts for specific physiological processes such as growth and reproduction and must be included in the animal’s diet.

Cattle, sheep, and horses, like most mammals, cannot synthesize the essential polyunsaturated fatty acids, linoleic and alpha-linolenic acid. Linoleic acid is classified as an omega-6 fatty acid, while alpha-linolenic acid belongs to the omega-3 family of fatty acids. These two fatty acids are vital components of cell membranes and serve as precursors for biologically active metabolites called eicosanoids. Eicosanoids are 20-carbon fatty acids that affect inflammation and thus the immune system plus other essential functions such as reproduction.

Research Trial:

Effects of FlaxLic on Blood Plasma Concentrations of Omega-3 in Heifers

A recent preliminary study with individually fed growing heifers evaluated the impact of NGS FlaxLic on the blood plasma concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids and heifer performance (Figure 1).

Study Overview
  • Heifers were fed a diet of approximately 70% roughage and 30% concentrate
  • With or without access to FlaxLic blocks
  • 4-way viral vaccine
  • 7-way clostridial bacterin
  • Blood samples were collected from heifers at 0 and 16 days

A second large-scale performance study was conducted with growing heifers to evaluate impact of FlaxLic supplement on blood plasma concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids and growth performance.

Study Overview
  • 480 feedlot heifers, 24 drylot pens
  • Fed a diet with 70% roughage (brome hay)
  • Blood samples were collected from heifers after 0, 28, and 56 days (figure 2) of FlaxLic supplementation
  • Total trial duration was 84 days (figure 3)

Research Trial:

Effect of FlaxLic with Alpha-linolenic Acid on Bull Performance

Poor sperm motility and presence of abnormalities in sperm morphology are two of the most common causes of poor fertility in males. Fatty Acids are an essential component of sperm. FlaxLic is a high-density, low-moisture block that resists heat and humidity and is manufactured by New Generation Supplements. Research conducted by Kansas State University suggest that the omega-3 fats provided in FlaxLic can lead to improvements in semen quality, bull fertility (figure 4 & 5) PLUS improved daily gain on less total feed resulting in a significant improvement in feed conversion. Flaxseed is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids and has been shown to increase tissue concentrations of both alpha-linolenic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid, which are involved in synthesis of important reproductive hormones.