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Soybean Products for Dairy Cattle

February 2016

Soybean Products for Dairy Cattle – Animal scientists at The Pennsylvania State University have written a review of the use of soybean and soybean byproducts for dairy. They overviewed the use of soybeans and soybean byproducts in dairy rations. They report that soybeans, soybean meal, and hulls are an excellent source of crude protein and fit into any type of forage-based ration. Depending on how the soybeans were processed, they can provide high quality protein, degradable, undegradable and soluble protein, energy, fat, and fiber.

Soybeans also provide protein and energy to the ration. If soybeans have been properly heat-treated then they can provide additional rumen undegradable protein (RUP) and fat. Soybeans that have not been heated provide a source of degradable and soluble protein.

Soybean meal is used as a protein source for dairy cattle. There are some heat treated soybean meal products that provide additional RUP to the diet.

Soybean hulls provide an excellent source of digestible fiber. They are often incorporated into dairy cattle diets to help stretch forage supplies or to minimize risk from rumen acidosis.

There is no question that soybeans and its byproducts can provide various nutrients to the rations of dairy cattle. However as with any feed, there are some limitations that need to be recognized so their full benefits to the dairy cow can be achieved. This review article discusses the proper use and processing of soybeans, soybean meal and hull for dairy.