Animal & Dairy Science Reading University, United Kingdom
Presentation title: How low can we go with crude protein in dairy cow diets? Long-term effects of feeding lower protein diets to high-yielding dairy cows.
Protein efficiency of dairy cows is of increasing interest and discussion with the current focus and public debate on reducing reactive N-emissions from dairy farms. One possible route to reducing N-emission from dairy farms is to decrease the total protein content of the diets fed. To achieve this goal, dairy farmers have several options to choose from, which may have effects on production, health, fertility, and longevity.
A long-term experiment with high-yielding dairy cows fed lower protein concentration diets over 3 lactations yielded a multitude of results on production and health parameters. But are these results applicable under all circumstances? This may depend in part on the forage components of the diets fed and the diet components that replace the protein removed, as well as differences between individual animals in terms of their metabolism and rumen microbial communities.