29 September 1995

Cocktail for protein…

MILK protein content can be switched on by up to 0.5% within 12 hours by supplying the cow a cocktail of essential amino acids.

Prof David Beever of the Centre for Dairy Research (CEDAR) told a packed Feeding Forum seminar that the increase was achievable within 12 hours.

The breakthrough is the result of research by CEDAR and the Rowett Research Institute, Aberdeen (Livestock, July 28).

Cows were fed a grass silage based diet and supplied with certain essential amino acids so they by-passed the rumen. Milk proteins rose by 0.5% within 12 hours in both high and low yielding cows without increasing milk yield.

Prof Beever said it could be four years before producers could "turn on" milk protein overnight. But the results have convinced him that amino acids are the way forward for dairy cow nutrition.