Rumen Protected Amino Acid Supply

Protein supply for the forthcoming few years will become more and more important with reductions to Ammonia/Nitrogen usage, carbon footprints, increased prices of soya meal substitutes, pressure on Nitrogen excretion and soya meal level in diets.

As a nutritionist and as farmers we are familiar with the term “crude protein” but as the word “crude” describes, this does not necessarily mean that the protein is (1) all available and (2) the correct protein. Traditionally many dairy diets were 17-18%+ crude protein.

The rumen needs a certain amount of simple protein in the form of nitrogen to utilise sugars and starch and aid rumen bacteria function. After this, more complex proteins which a cow cannot readily make or may not be available in the diet need to be supplied to achieve performance. This is particularly prevalent in higher yielding diets. Soya meal and fresh grass are excellent supply of Lysine and Arginine, although in winter the fresh grass supply is non-existent. Methionine the main limiting factor in a high yield dairy cow diet is higher in Prairie meal, reasonable in Rape meal but was never fully replaced once Fish meal was banned. There are however specific protein supplies available which can boost individual methionine and lysine supplies. As a result, we can reduce crude protein levels of diets to as much as <13-14%. These options have long been known about and are used but their popularity will increase with the emphasis on efficient use of amino acids and reducing Nitrogen/Protein use.

It is important that additional Methionine and Lysine is protected/encapsulated in the dairy ration because the rumen bacteria will break down non-protected forms which is not a cost-effective form of utilising high value proteins. Encapsulated/protected protein can degrade in the lower gut making sure they are fed directly to the cow rather than to the rumen bacteria.

Methionine is a key factor in Butterfat formation and fertility but works best in a ratio of 1:3 with Lysine in a high yield dairy ration. Many milk contracts and customers want to see their suppliers reduce or remove soya and reduce the environmental impact of purchased protein on the planet. I can help you achieve this.

I can and am looking to improve amino acid feeding in all my dairy rations moving forward, looking at ways/combinations to move away from soya meal feeding and focus on sustainable protein supplies.

For advice on how you manage your Amino Acid supply, please contact Wesley at or your local FCG Office.

Posted in Business Management, Chippenham, Dairy & Forage.