High-fat, low-fiber safflower seeds worked well as a fat supplement for dairy cows in a study at Utah State University.
A ration containing 56% forage as alfalfa hay and corn silage plus 44% concentrate was supplemented with Nutrasaff safflower seeds at up to 4% of total dry matter. Dry matter intake and milk production weren't affected, but dry matter digestibility tended to increase at safflower seed levels up to 3%. Milkfat percentage declined with increasing safflower seed levels, and was down dramatically at the 4% level.
The seeds reduced milk urea nitrogen (MUN) levels, implying that nitrogen use for milk production was improved. Conjugated linoleic acid, which has potentially beneficial health effects, went up with increasing safflower seed levels.
The researchers concluded that the high-fat safflower seeds are a “promising means” of fat supplementation if limited to no more than 3% of ration dry matter.