Milk Lactose Levels – Andrew Jones

You may have noticed (depending on your milk buyer) that NML have now started testing for Lactose with your milk samples, but what is Lactose and what is it an indication of?

Lactose is a disaccharide and is made up of two simple sugars, one glucose molecule and one galactose molecule, so it is therefore an indication of the sugar in the milk, and therefore an indication of the energy available to the cow.

On a bulk level, lactose levels are an important factor for a range of manufacturing processes, and low lactose levels can cause issues in product quality and therefore the potential down grading of product.

However, what do they mean for an individual cow, and where can I find the individual results?  If you milk record there will be a record of all your cow’s individual milk lactose results when you search their records online.

The desired levels for an individual cow are 4.55% for a Holstein & 4.65% for a Jersey, but what are these an indication of?  If the levels are below this, it is an indication that the glucogenic supply is insufficient to the cow.  The glucogenic supply is the amount of energy directly available to the liver and the better the glucogenic supply the better the liver can drive milk production.

For assistance in ensuring that your high yielding cows have the right amount and type of energy in their diets contact Andrew Jones at or your local FCG office.

Posted in Calne Dairy, Dairy & Forage, Gillingham Grazers, Midwest Grazers, Milkwell Group, Sherborne, Wessex Springers.