2 April 1999

Rationing system

THE metabolisable protein system for rationing dairy cows is too simple, and does not predict the protein supplied by rumen microbes.

But Richard Dewhurst of IGER, Aberystwyth, said the solution was complicated. The response of microbes varied with different combinations of feeds, and, for example, would be different with sugar beet pulp than with barley.

That may be because feed digestion differs, with the various types of rumen microbes growing in response to different energy and protein sources.