Protein Supplementation in Summer

Protein ranks second as limiting nutrient in dairy cow nutrition after energy particularly in high yielding dairy cows.

The protein content of a feed is measured as Crude Protein, which is calculated from the chemical determination of the nitrogen content of that feed. Some of this protein is degraded in the rumen and a smaller fraction of protein is passed into the abomasum and small intestine for incorporation into milk protein or body tissues.

Billions of bacteria living in the stomach (rumen) of Dairy cow are capable of utilizing nitrogen not only from “true protein” sources such as from pasture, conserved forages, cereal grains and protein meals but also from non-protein sources such as urea and ammonia.

In summer, pasture quality declines rapidly in terms of protein content and digestibility. Therefore, during summer months additional considerations are necessary not only to increase dietary Crude Protein offered in the daily feed intake but also improving the digestion rate of the feed consumed.

High protein pellets tend to lift the intake of grass silages with a consequential increase in daily energy intake and milk production.

Farmers are encouraged to assess the quantity and nutritional quality of available pastures, summer crops and conserved fodder and match a supplementary pellet with the correct protein percentage to achieve a desired level of milk production and satisfactory milk component levels.

For further information call CopRice on 1800 267 742 for an on-farm consultation to discuss your dairy herd’s protein nutrition requirement this summer.