Carbohydrate neglected

5 November 1999

Carbohydrate neglected

NUTRITIONISTS pay too much attention to protein composition of diets and neglect carbohydrates.

That was the basis of David Beavers seminar at a DRC meeting on home-grown proteins.

"It is essential to feed the cows rumen, which means optimising microbial protein. Carbohydrates have been neglected in diets because of an obsession with protein."

Feeding high levels of protein is extremely inefficient. A cow with a feed intake of 22kg, 17% crude protein ration, amounting to 4kg protein returns only 1kg of protein back into the milk tank, said Mr Beaver.

"There is an awful lot of protein not finishing up in the milk tank, so what is the point of increasing protein levels when efficiency and conversion into milk composition is lower than 25%."

Protein feeding levels have increased in the UK to stimulate feed intakes because grass silage, the staple forage, depresses these. "There has been a need to stimulate intakes and cows do respond to certain amino acids in diets."

Altering protein content – degradable or undegradable – is a waste of time because it is often more than animal needs, he added. &#42

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