21 April 1995

Milk proteins lifted by 10% in high protein supplement trial

By Sue Rider

MILK producers feeding a high protein supplement to their dry cows are lifting milk protein yields by an average of 10%.

This protein boost was revealed by Dalgety at the launch of results from its first commercial dry cow feeding trial.

The trial involved 20 herds which were fed 2kg a head a day of the companys high protein Pre-Calver XP dry cow supplement four weeks before calving.

It then compared their milk performance from July to September 94 with the same period in 1993 when cows had been offered no protein supplement before calving.

Herd size averaged 120 cows. These were mainly summer calvers being fed grazed grass, with 20% also receiving a forage buffer. Results showed a milk yield increase of 9.5% and a 0.1% lift in milk protein percentage. Said Dalgetys Dr Stuart Marsden: "Improvements in milk protein yield were consistent with trial results at both the Scottish Agricultural College and Wye College London University."

Dr Marsden claimed an outlay of £12-£14 a cow for Pre Calver XP was worth at least £60 a cow in extra milk protein yield.

He said that other benefits cited by farmers included less milk fever, easier calvings and fewer retained cleansings, better fertility, and a higher and more sustained level of milk production.