Feeding canola meal as 60% of the crude protein component in high-group rations containing corn distillers dried grain (DDGS) proved to be the optimal level, according to research conducted by the University of California-Davis (UC-Davis).
In a trial utilizing four pens of about 320 cows each, UC-Davis graduate student Nadia Swanepoel fed four levels of canola meal. “Overall, results suggest that the optimum ratio of canola meal to DDGS protein in this contemporary Califoria dairy ration was about 60% canola meal of total crude protein, or about 12% of ration dry matter,” says Swanepoel.
Milk production averaged 104 lb./cow/day at this level. The highest body condition gain, 0.034 units/28 days, was also at the 60% inclusion rate.
Swanepoel speculates that lower performance at either higher or lower inclusion rates could be indicative of an imbalance in the dietary rumen degraded and undegraded protein ratio. That, in turn, could adversely affect rumen function or create an imbalance in available amino acids to support increased milk production.