Optimizing the efficiency of protein in rations

Project entitled:

Diet strategies to improve protein efficiency on Quebec dairy farms

Cristiano Cortes, Edith Charbonneau, Hélène Lapierre, Daniel Ouellet, Doris Pellerin, Debora Santschi



Protein is the most expensive ingredient in rations fed to dairy cows, constituting 42% of feed costs. Moreover, more than 70% of this investment is excreted without even contributing to milk production. Dejections contain a large quantity of nitrogen, the base component of the amino acids that form proteins. A ration offering a better balance of amino acids would reduce nitrogen ingestion, consequently lowering feed costs without negatively affecting milk yield. In this project, researcher Christiano Côrtes plans to demonstrate that it is profitable to offer cows a more balanced diet in this respect. After studying the practices being used on 12 commercial farms equipped with feed robots, he will test a ration optimized with nitrogen and compare it to a control ration. The exercise should lead to the development of feed strategies applicable to dairy farms.