Cows stay healthy as they contain 150 grams of raw protein

It is possible to reduce the amount of crude protein in feed at the farm level to 150 grams per kilogram of dry matter, while milk production remains at the correct level and the cow is healthy. It is important to take a closer look at the ration, especially with the lactation stage.

“The more protein you put in the ration, the less efficiently the cow handles it,” Harmen van Laar, an animal nutrition researcher at Wageningen Livestock Research, said during the Network Practice Companies webinar last week.

According to Van Laar, strides have already been made in protein efficiency over the past 30 years. In 1990, the amount of crude protein per kilogram of dry matter was still above 200 grams. Just before this century, the decline began, which was still an average of 154 grams in 2012. After that there was an increase of about 170 grams in 2020. Ammonia emissions decreased at first, followed by an increase after 2012.”

also Farm vet Gerrit Higgin It indicates that more protein has been fed in recent years. Many ranchers expect this milk to be buoyant and good for the levels found in milk. However, the disadvantages are often the high content of urea in the milk and the fact that expensive protein raw materials are partly used for energy supply to the cow. Too much protein in the ration is not attractive from an environmental and economic point of view.


100g more or less DVE does not give different milk production

Harmen van Laar, animal nutrition researcher at Wageningen Livestock Research

30% less emissions

Participants in Networking practice companies, an initiative of LTO Noord and Wageningen University & Research and funded by the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, will work on this. With 164 grams of raw protein per kilogram of dry matter per serving, it’s now just below average. The goal for this project is to get 150 grams, reports project leader Cathy Van Dyck. “Based on the project’s goals, we assume a 30 percent reduction in ammonia and methane emissions.”

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“The rule of thumb is that you get a 1 percent reduction in ammonia per gram less crude protein per kilogram of dry matter per serving,” van Laar adds. With 150 grams as a goal in 2024, you’d get 15 grams less, that’s 15 percent. So you’re not there yet, but the first hit is worth a taler.

It’s about more than just raw protein

“Crude protein is a rough measure of the amount of nitrogen excreted in the urine,” the researcher continues. Within the serving, it also relates to the amount of enterosorbent protein (DVE) and unstable protein balance (OEB). OEB is the amount of protein left at the rumen level compared to the energy for microbial protein production.

With this OEB, a safe margin of 200 to 300 OEB is always maintained, Van Laar knows: “Then it milks well, they say. I don’t think we can avoid reducing this safety margin. The animal itself also recycles a lot of nitrogen, which is Return it to the rumen.This way the cow can make up a large part of this safe margin.

DVE is an important component of the level of milk production. For example, there are curves in which the amount of DVE and milk production are correlated. This means that less DVE in the serving also results in less milk production.

However, the effect attributed to DVE on milk production is not quite the case, according to Van Laar. If we look at how cows really react, we see that milk production changes less due to ingestion of DVE. 100g more or less DVE does not result in different milk production, while not much DVE is used efficiently. The cow itself is very much regulated in terms of DVE, there is leeway in the amount before milk production drops.

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Energy Balance and DVE

The researcher also sees a link between milk production and energy, as measured in the VEM. “Reduced energy through forage leads to lower milk production. Thus, more energy means more milk production. At each stage of lactation, we can influence milk production by giving more or less energy or by providing more or less of DVE, he explains.

More energy from cob mix (CCM) for example leads to more milk. © Joss Thelousen

Milk production of 30 kg can be maintained, for example, by providing more energy and reducing DVE or by providing less energy and more DVE. It stands or falls with the quality of the roughness. If it has enough VEM and if the coarse is tasty, the amount of DVE can be reduced.

Higgin agrees that 150 grams of raw protein, good health, and the same milk yield can go hand in hand. There are clear prerequisites. In addition to this good roughness and good pasture grass, you need a stable rumen function, the amount of unstable protein and the amount of rumen energy being balanced, with many active rumen microbes for rumen fermentation and as a source of microbial protein. “.

tripe speed

The vet continues: “You also have to make sure that you control the passing velocity in the rumen and you have to make sure you have enough glucogenic energy, such as starch.” “This leads to milk production, but it also requires good rumen function.”

“With the right approach, the potential negative effects of protein deficiency, such as decreased resistance and potential growth and development disturbances in the fetus and young animal, can also be addressed,” Heegen concludes.

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Customized classes

Reducing the amount of DVE means the allocation associated with the lactation stage, says De Boerenveearts Gerrit Hegen: “A good and adequate ration is required for dry cows. The cow should give birth without any metabolic problems.

Moreover, the rumen must be prepared for new lactation. “Bacterial activity in the rumen should be optimal at the time of birth,” continues Heijn. The cow is prepared with good rumen microbes to convert lactic acid and digest starch and has sufficient surface area of ​​rumen papillae to absorb the volatile fatty acids formed. Finally, active rumen microbes are an important source of microbial protein that can replace part of the feed protein.

In the starter group with cows in the first 30 days of lactation, the rumen should slowly get used to the focus. This dose should not be increased too quickly, digestion in the rumen should remain balanced. This places requirements on the type of silage, but also on the type of concentrate and the amount of concentrate, advises Higgin.

Most profit in lactation group

In the lactation group, the biggest gains can be made from reducing crude protein, Higgin says. In this group, milk production is driven by sugar energy. You can achieve this by using good VEM in silage, corn starch and/or concentrates. Both require a good rumen function. Then you get the good stuff about milk production, health, and ammonia reduction.

For older cows, the focus is on the coarse and coarse quality. Cows have to take a lot of good roughage for production. In this case, correcting the protein in the form of enterally digestible protein is the only source of protein in the concentrates to ensure that milk production remains at the correct level, without the cows becoming fat. The farmer’s vet concludes.

Megan Vasquez

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