The Use and Future of Animal Proteins in Dairy Diets

Dairy cow diets with animal protein

Animal protein sources come from a variety of food animal processing industries. As we understand these protein components that are possibly more effectively and efficiently used to meet the requirements of the dairy cow, one might see a potentially greater demand for animal protein sources.

The challenges faced with using any of these products, as a commodity, can be numerous. These can include:

  • Cost – Most of the animal proteins, despite the fact that they are byproducts from the processing industries, tend to be expensive. This is relative since we normally do not use these materials as a source of “conventional” nutrients such as crude protein or crude fat.

  • Cost volatility – It is not unusual to see significant swings in pricing of these materials. These ingredients are commonly used in other-species feeding as well – poultry meal is commonly used in the pet industry and fish meal is used extensively in aquaculture diets – thus a variety of market-affecting factors can come into play. Processing schedules can play a role in market prices as well.

  • Feeding rate/palatability – Feeding of some of these products must be handled carefully to prevent dry matter intake depression. In many cases, a maximum of about 1 pound per head per day is recommended.

  • Fat content – Some products are high in fat which, when fed, can potentially result in milkfat depression if overfed.

  • Fat rancidity – Unless treated with an antioxidant, and if not fed in a timely fashion, fat components can become rancid.

Even though these animal proteins have their challenges, high-quality lysine or other amino acid source is critical to deliver consistent, high-quality protein cows need to optimize production and efficiency throughout lactation. To read the full article on animal proteins and the use in dairy cow diets, click here.

Tags: Animal Protein, Dairy Cow Diets, Feeding Strategies