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Stackyard News Feb 09

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Spread the Cost of Protein in Dairy Rations

Milk producers can make better use of the protein they are already feeding and spread the cost of this expensive feed ingredient, according to SCA NuTec’s ruminant nutritionist Norman Downey.

SCA NuTec’s ruminant nutritionist
Norman Downey

SCA NuTec’s ruminant nutritionist Norman Downey

“High protein costs, a prolonged cold period and the anticipation of delayed turnouts are causing concern among producers,” says Mr Downey. “On top of this, many are facing forage shortages and looking at ways of making the ration go further.”

Latest trial results are showing that by adding SCA NuTec’s sugar mineral complex, Amino ProTek, to dairy cow rations, the supply of metabolisable protein to the small intestine can be increased by 15.5%, due to increased rumen efficiency.

Amino ProTek works by slowing protein break-down in the rumen, thereby enabling the rumen microbes to capture more protein and produce metabolisable protein. This increases total protein supply to the small intestine where it is available for milk production.

The benefits are two-fold. Trials carried out in the UK, Denmark and Germany have shown a 1.5 to 2.0 litre per day increase in milk production when Amino Pro-Tek is included in the diet.

Secondly, by making more use of the protein, less is left as waste protein which is converted to ammonia – a toxic product that has a negative effect on dairy cow fertility. High levels of ammonia are also associated with high somatic cell counts and feet problems.

Amino ProTek can be added to compound feed or blends or included in farm packs for TMR rations. Fed as a Farm Pack, Amino ProTek costs 9p per cow per day. Based on potential increases in milk production alone, it can provide a return on investment of at least 4:1 based on a milk price of 25p/litre.

“This year, with highly volatile raw material prices and soya prices around £320 a tonne, making the protein in the diet go that bit further is a cost-effective option. It is also possible that in some cases the total dietary protein content can be reduced by 1% where Amino ProTek is added to the diet. In practice this equates to 0.5kg of soya,” adds Mr Downey.

“And when there are health and welfare benefits too it’s a win-win situation for producers.”

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