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  • By Lynda Kiernan-Stone, Global AgInvesting Media

Canola Meal Could Effectively Replace Soybean Meal Dairy Rations

New research conducted by a team of scientists, including Dr. Glen Broderick at Broderick Nutrition and Research and Dr. Antonio Facoila at the University of Nevada and Dr. Louis Armentano at the University of Wisconsin, concludes that canola meal could be an effective replacement for soybean meal in dairy cow rations.

Historically, soybean meal has been the main protein source in dairy cow feed, but the increase in canola production in recent years has led to the higher availability of canola meal to act as a protein supplement in these rations. Although canola’s crude protein levels are lower than those of soybeans, researchers have found that it is not the level of crude protein that is key, but rather what it is made of.

“Canola meal has lower levels of crude protein compared to soybean meal, which has contributed to lower feed inclusion rates in the past, but for a dairy cow, it’s not necessarily about how much crude protein is in the ingredient but what that protein is made of,” says Carson Callum, canola meal manager at the Canola Council of Canada (CCC).

Because of its low protein degradation and favorable amino acid profile, canola meal has been proven to be effective in low protein dairy diets. Studying 49 different dairy cow diets, researchers found that canola meal improved milk yields by 1.4 pounds per cow per day while also increasing protein yield compared to other protein sources fed at the same level.

“Research like this will help Canada’s canola industry raise the value of canola meal, and it also helps dairy farms increase their overall production efficiency,” Callum says.

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