Lysine – Why? Where? When?

In recent months we have seen tightened pressure on protein supply with certain supermarkets banning both Soya and Palm derivatives. Rape meal supplies being affected by Erith’s lack of production and less wheat and maize distillers in the marketplace. Brewers grains have also been erratic due to COVID. With continued pressure by supermarket contracts on soya meal supply, this has caused problems in winter and high yield diets.

Soya meal is an excellent protein source adding,

  • Rumen Protein
  • Rumen Bypass Protein
  • Palatability Driver (especially in relation to  Rape meal)
  • Lysine & Arginine Amino Acids*
    *The 2nd & 3rd most limiting amino acid in a cow’s diet

The bypass fraction is essential when dealing with lower value silages which may also be low in protein. This has been seen in later cuts of grass silage in the south west. Poorer forages mean reduced rumen function and slower rumen throughput. There is also likely to be a lot of ammonia in the diet and insufficient amino acids in particular Lysine and Methionine. The excess ammonia is excreted in the blood, urine, milk and faeces. Lysine plays a large role in milk production and milk protein, whilst Methionine focuses on butterfat, however they are required in harmony at a 3:1 ratio of Lysine to Methionine.

We also have the issue that rumen degradable Lysine or Methionine can be broken down in the rumen, perhaps for microbes to use as energy, which is inefficient and a waste. Should this occur it is likely that 2 things need to occur (1) increase fermentable energy for the rumen and (2) to protect Lysine and Methionine (see diagram). Therefore, chemically bonding to bypass the rumen is essential and prudent in the first place to ensure amino acids get where they are required.

Spring and summer grass contain good amounts of Lysine and Methionine with a ratio of 3.3:1, close to the optimum.

In the winter if we looked at a 50:50 Grass/Maize silage ratio ,the ratio would now be 2.3:1 showing a gross imbalance in the need for Lysine and hence why Soya meal has been so successful in dairy diets. If we can ensure TMR palatability, feed enough fermentable energy, guarantee a supply of rape meal and add some rumen protected lysine this is likely to counter many problems for producers banned from soya.

For Amino Acid Formulation please contact Wesley – wesleyhabershon@fcgagric.com or your local FCG Office.

Posted in Arable & Crops, Business Management, Chippenham, Dairy & Forage.