Improving Nitrogen Efficiency in Dairy Diets

dairy cow diets with nitrogen

Most N is provided in diets in the form of proteins and amino acids. Nitrogen is a key component of all amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins. As nutritional knowledge has advanced, we have gone from balancing dairy diets for CP to balancing for rumen-degradable and rumen-undegradable protein (bypass protein) to now balancing diets for metabolizable protein. Our increased understanding of N metabolism in the dairy cow is leading to improvements in N efficiency.

There has been a great deal of research conducted in the past 10 to 15 years examining ways to improve N efficiency of lactating cows. Historically, we have been feeding excess N to ensure that we will not be limiting on amino acids, resulting in the excess being excreted as urea. We are continuing to improve our abilities to predict the net requirements for amino acids and to formulate for each essential amino acid. we would suggest that as we get a better handle on the dynamics of the rumen and the microbiome in the rumen – the intestinal digestibility of proteins and an improved understanding of the dynamics of the amino acids requirements of the cow – we will be able to move to the next level in productivity and N efficiency and, at the same time, make the producer more profitable.

To read the full articl on a study of how dietary CP and N efficiency interrelate in dairy rations, click here.

Tags: Dairy Cow Diets