17 August 2001

Success claimed in fishmeal replacement search

A SURVEY carried out by a Scottish feed manufacturer shows that replacing fishmeal with alternative sources of quality protein had no adverse impact on cow performance.

Conducted by Davidsons Animal Feeds, Glasgow, the survey compared milk yield, quality, health and fertility of 7000 cows averaging 8250 litres from 52 herds on fishmeal and non-fishmeal diets.

"We reformulated diets, maintaining specifications by rebalancing the amino acid profile with products including soya, rape, prairie meal and Megalac Plus – a source of energy and protected methionine," says the companys nutritionist Donald Lawson.

Reformulated diets maintained milk yield, quality, health and fertility with 20% of producers saying milk protein content had increased, according to Dr Lawson.

However, south-east Kite dairy consultant Ben Watts says there will usually be no economic response to fishmeal replacers unless cows are yielding 9500-10,000 litres. "In nine out of 10 cases there are other limiting factors, including low dry matter intake and low energy density, before essential amino acids such as methionine become limiting.

"When making any diet changes it is important to measure economic response by looking at yield and fertility changes." &#42