Wisconsin dairies realize impressive increases in efficiency and production with canola meal

October 18, 2018 — Canola meal continues to demonstrate its value for dairy producers, with on-farm trials resulting in 2 to 3.5 more litres of milk per cow per day. According to Gordon Speirs, a dairy manager at Shiloh Dairy in Wisconsin, using canola meal is a “no-brainer.” After participating in a recent on-farm trial where canola meal was fed at high inclusion rates, Speirs said, “Canola contributes to cost-efficient production. We no longer have to source and store expeller soybean meal.”

The Canola Council of Canada (CCC) conducted the on-farm trial with the help of GPS Dairy Consulting, group of independent dairy nutritionists in Wisconsin. The purpose of the trial was to determine whether producers could increase efficiency by replacing multiple high-priced protein sources, such as animal protein blends and treated soybean meal, with canola meal while maintaining milk yield.

Two Wisconsin dairies volunteered to participate in the trial. The first farm, Shiloh Dairy, milked 2,100 cows with an average of 45 kilograms of milk per cow per day. The second farm was a 700-cow dairy that also averaged 45 kilograms of milk per cow per day. The trial rations replaced animal protein and high-bypass soybean meal with canola meal and rumen-protected lysine. Cows were monitored for a total of four months: two months on the control diet and two months on the trial diet.

After the trial was complete, both dairies noted:

  • The trial ration was comparable in price or less expensive;
  • Their yield weight of milk, fat and protein increased (See Tables 1 and 2) – including a daily milk increase of nearly 2 litres per cow on farm one and 3.5 litres per cow on farm two; and
  • The additional canola meal allowed them to streamline sourcing protein ingredients.

These findings are important for dairy operations looking to lower feed costs while maintaining production. “The trial demonstrated that cows will readily accept 3.5 to 4 kilograms of canola meal,” stated dairy nutritionist Dr. Essi Evans of Technical Advisory Services, Inc. “It provided cows with a well-balanced diet and allowed higher-priced proteins to be removed.”

“Although the field trials were small, we are encouraged by the positive results, and will continue to research the uses of canola meal for dairy animals,” says Brittany Dyck, canola meal manager with the CCC

Table 1. Farm One Results

Control Period Trial Period
Number of cows 1,121 1,121
Standardized days in milk 150 150
Milk yield, kg (or litre) 45.4 47.2
Fat % 3.83 3.87
Protein % 3.26 3.20
Fat yield, kg. 1.70 1.80
Protein yield, kg. 1.47 1.50
3.5% fat-corrected milk, kg. 47.49 49.84
Energy-corrected milk, kg. 47.62 49.66

Table 2. Farm Two Results

Control Period Trial Period
Number of cows 394 394
Standardized days in milk 150 150
Milk yield, kg (or litre) 43.7 47.2
Fat % 4.12 3.87
Protein % 3.12 3.09
Fat yield, kg. 1.79 1.80
Protein yield, kg. 1.39 1.45
3.5% fat-corrected milk, kg. 48.12 49.39
Energy-corrected milk, kg. 47.58 49.30

The United States is the largest export market for canola and canola products. In 2017, exports to the U.S. were worth $3.7 billion – including 574 thousand tonnes of seed, 1.9 million tonnes of oil and 3.4 million tonnes of meal.

About the Canola Council of Canada
The Canola Council of Canada is a full value chain organization representing canola growers, processors, life science companies and exporters. Keep it Coming 2025 is the strategic plan to ensure the canola industry’s continued growth, demand, stability and success – achieving 52 bushels per acre to meet global market demand of 26 million metric tonnes by the year 2025.

About Canolamazing
Canola meal is a coproduct of canola processing and is approximately 36 percent crude protein, with a high bypass protein value and amino acid profile well suited for milk production. Because of its high protein content, canola meal is often used as a protein supplement for animal feeds, including dairy rations. Visit www.canolamazing.com to learn more. 


Media may contact:
Brittany Dyck, Canola Meal Manager

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