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Canola Meal Use-Dairy

Moore, S. A. E. and K. F. Kalscheur
September 2016

The objective of this Canola Meal Use-Dairy experiment was to compare performance of early lactation dairy cows fed diets formulated with canola meal (CM) or soybean meal (SBM) as the main protein source at either a high (HI; 17.6%) or low (LO; 15.4%) crude protein concentration. Seventy-nine Holstein cows were blocked by calving date and maintained the same treatment for 16 weeks. Diets were formulated to contain 39.6% corn silage, 15.4% alfalfa silage, and 45% concentrate mix on a dry weight (DM) basis. Canola meal was included at 19.4 and 11.9% DM, whereas SBM was included at 14.5 and 8.9% DM due to differences in crude protein levels of the oilseed meal. Cows fed CM diets had milk yield compared with cows fed SBM (55.7 vs. 51.2 kg/d; P < 0.01) and dry matter intake (25.8 vs. 25.0 kg/d; P = 0.09). The source of crude protein did not affect milk fat, protein, lactose, or total solids percentage. Decreasing dietary crude protein in the ration increased milk fat (4.09 vs. 3.90%; P < 0.05) and total solids (12.8 vs. 12.5%; P = 0.07). These data suggest milk yield and feed efficiency can be improved in early lactation with the inclusion of CM. (Reviewers note-the decision in selecting the oilseed protein becomes one of reviewing differences in meal prices, composition and availability).