Upcycled Canola in Feed Rations May Improve Cattle Health
University of Saskatchewan (U of S) graduate student Erika Cornand is leading an initiative to determine whether discarded canola can be used as a dietary supplement for pregnant cows to improve their health and that of their calves.
The team added canola seeds that have been packaged in pellet form to the rations of 72 pregnant cows over the course of two years at the research facilities located at the U of S Livestock and Forage Excellence Center in Clavet, Saskatchewan.
Three groups of cattle were formed: one received no extra canola seed supplements, while the other two received 150 and 300 grams of fat per day, respectively. The team then tracked body weight and the quality and volume of milk produced after calving to track the effectiveness of the supplements.
Preliminary results show that canola seed-based pellets fed during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy improved body condition scores and the pregnancy rate of cows - indicating positive news for both beef producers and canola farmers who could have a new income stream from canola that would have been discarded.