Agriculture

Evaluation of a high-protein corn coproduct in dairy cow diets

Alvaro Garcia

Corn grain has a high starch concentration and as such is used as energy source for cattle diets in many parts of the world. This starch is also used in the industry as a substrate to produce ethanol and sweeteners. Ethanol extraction from corn concentrates results in all other valuable nutrients being concentrated.

As a result, corn grain which has originally 7-9% crude protein concentration, once starch is extracted leaves a coproduct with much higher protein concentration (> 30%). The two most common corn starch processing methods in the industry today are dry milling (ethanol production) and wet milling (sweetener production), with both leaving high protein coproducts.

From ethanol production the coproduct obtained is distillers dried grains which has a crude protein (CP) concentration between 27-30%. The sweetener industry on the other hand, leaves corn gluten feed (25% CP) and corn gluten meal (60% CP).

More recently (1990’s), further fractionation has removed the fat, bran, and germ of the kernel further increasing the CP of the remaining coproduct to 40% CP or more. There is a novel proprietary high protein product with close to 56% CP that’s also available as a protein concentrate, particularly for dairy cattle.

There has not been a large body of research of these new fractionation coproducts, particularly compared to other, more traditional alternatives such as soybean meal and canola meal.

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Dietary DDGS and ammonia and hydrogen sulfide emissions

Alvaro Garcia

Greater ethanol production has increased the availability of one of its coproducts, distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS). Once starch in corn is fermented to ethanol, the nutrients in the remaining mash that will end-up as DDGS, concentrate nearly three-fold. Research studies have explored the maximization of DDGS in dairy cow diets and its impacts on overall performance.

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Soybean meal or canola meal in combination with distillers’ grains?

Soybean meal or canola meal in combination with distillers’ grains?

Fernando Díaz

Soybean meal, canola meal, and corn distillers’ grains are good sources of protein for dairy cows. Since they have different rumen undegradable protein (RUP) content and amino acid profile, feeding diets that include two or three protein sources is the best strategy for covering amino acids requirements in high producing cows.

A recent metanalysis including 10 scientific publications conducted by the Dairy Knowledge Center’s team (Sánchez-Duarte et al., 2019) did not find difference in production performance and efficiency between cows fed canola meal- or soybean meal-based diets. Both, soybean meal (30% of protein) and canola meal (43%) are low in RUP content, thus they use to be blended with high RUP ingredients such as distillers’ grain (55%).

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