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Treatment of soybean meal to improve protein utilization by dairy cows.

J. Ricaud



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Treatment of soybean meal to improve protein utilization by dairy cows.
A. Klop1, M. Aoun2, J. Ricaud*2, G. van Duinkerken1. 1Wageningen Livestock Research Wageningen, the Netherlands, 2Idena Sautron, France.

Soybean meal is a common protein source in dairy cattle diets. By chemical treatment (e.g., with formaldehyde), rumen degradable protein content can be decreased, while increasing ileal digestible protein content. We evauated whether feed additive Vertan (a blend of eugenol, thymol and essentials oils) can be a nature-based alternative for chemical processing of soybean meal. To evaluate the effect of Vertan on performance and nitrogen use efficiency, a feeding trial was conducted with 3 groups of 15 dairy cows each. After a pre-period, cows were grouped and allotted to a treatment: a negative control diet (SBM) with soybean meal (1.4 kg DM/cow/d), a positive control diet (SBM-bp) with formaldehyde treated soybean meal (1.2 kg DM/cow/d) and a treatment diet (SBM-V) with soybean meal supplemented with Vertan (1.4 kg DM/cow/d). Crude protein content of all diets was 15% on a dry matter basis. Parallel to this study, 3 cows fitted with a rumen cannula were used in a Latin square design to measure rumen fermentation characteristics, in situ rumen degradation of the diet and digestion. Total dry matter intake of cows in the performance trial was 22.6 kg/cow/d for all treatments. Milk yield did not differ between treatments. Milk protein content was lower (P = 0.037) for SBM-bp (35.7 g/kg) compared with SBM (36.4 g/kg). Blood urea of cows on SBM-V was lower (3.4 mmol/L) (P = 0.002) compared with cows on SBM (3.9 mmol/L). Blood urea differences in the performance trial were in accordance with the differences in rumen ammonia concentrations found in the parallel trial with cannulated cows. Ammonia concentration in rumen fluid tended (P = 0.073) to be lower for treatments SBM-V (6.9 mmol/L) and SBM-bp (7.0 mmol/L) compared with SBM (9.1 mmol/L). The total VFA concentration in rumen fluid was highest (P = 0.014) for SBM (117.5 mmol/L) compared with SBM-bp (101.5 mmol/L) and SBM-V (104.7 mmol/L). Rumen pH tended (P = 0.055) to be higher for SBM-bp (6.25) compared with SBM (6.14) and SBM-V (6.18). Apparent total-tract digestibility did not differ between treatments, Vertan had no effect on DM, CP, NDF and starch digestibility. We concluded that the use of Vertan affects rumen protein fermentation, resulting in lower rumen ammonia and blood urea.

Keywords: protein, nitrogen, utilization.