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Updated canola meal values enable accuracy and performance in formulating dairy diets

The Canola Council of Canada (CCC) has posted updated nutritive values on its canola meal website, enabling improved accuracy for formulating dairy feed rations. The updated nutrient profile includes a greater rumen undegradable protein value and digestible neutral detergent fiber value for solvent extracted canola meal.

The website has these updated nutritive values for download alongside feed library files for NDS and AMTS dairy ration balancing programs. This is the culmination of an extensive research project as part of the Canola AgriScience Cluster, with funding provided by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the CCC, Alberta Canola, SaskCanola and the Manitoba Canola Growers.

“Since canola was first developed in the 1970s it has undergone continuous improvements, resulting in the premium protein source it is today,” says Brittany Dyck, the canola meal manager for the CCC. “Canola meal has been extensively studied with milk production responses of 2.2 pounds (1 litre) per cow, per day observed, however, the dairy formulation programs do not predict this milk response based on the nutrient profile.”

“Many existing dairy formulation databases rely on nutritive values from early studies which don’t accurately reflect the performance of canola meal today,” she says.

For example, the 2001 version of the National Research Council dairy publication is currently under revision and does not list solvent extracted canola meal, only expeller pressed canola meal. Furthermore, the lab methods used to determine nutritional values have also been modified.

The project involved collecting canola meal samples annually for four consecutive years from 12 canola processing facilities.
    •    The complete sample set was analyzed by scientists at the U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center, under the guidance of Dr. Glen Broderick, to assess protein degradation in the rumen and determine digestibility of protein fractions.
    •    Protein and fiber digestion was determined in continuous culture at the University of Nevada, under the supervision of Dr. Antonio Faciola.
    •    In addition, a portion of the samples was submitted to Cornell University for evaluation of protein and amino acids using the Multi-Step Protein Evaluation system developed by Debbie Ross and Mike Van Am burgh.

The results show that a high proportion of the protein in canola meal escaped fermentation in the rumen. The amino acid profile of the escaped protein was found to be quite similar to the amino acid profile of rumen microbes and well-suited to efficient use for milk protein synthesis. Results also revealed that, in spite of the lignin content, the fiber is highly digestible, resulting in a greater energy value than previously assumed.

“This research is key to replacing outdated nutritive values with a better understanding of canola meal’s proven advantages as a feed ingredient, particularly in dairy feed formulations,” says Dyck.

For more information:
Brittany Dyck
Canola Meal Manager, Canola Council of Canada