New Dairy Trials Show Value of Canola Meal

Canola meal can increase profits and efficiencies on dairy operations

Canola meal continues to demonstrate its value for dairy producers. According to Shiloh Dairy manager Gordon Speirs, using canola meal is a “no-brainer.” After participating in a recent field 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 field trials were conducted by the Canola Council of Canada with the help of GPS Dairy Consulting. The purpose of the trial was to find if 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 100 pounds of milk per cow per day. The second farm was a 700-cow dairy that also averaged 100 pounds 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); 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 8 to 9 pounds of canola meal,” stated Dr. Essi Evans, 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, the Council was encouraged by the positive results, and will continue to research the uses of canola meal for dairy animals.

Table 1. Farm One Results
  Control Period Trial Period
Number of cows 1,121 1,121
Standardized days in milk 150 150
Milk yield, lbs. 100.0 104.1
Fat % 3.83 3.87
Protein % 3.26 3.20
Fat yield, lbs. 3.77 3.99
Protein yield, lbs. 3.25 3.31
3.5% fat-corrected milk, lbs. 104.7 109.9
Energy-corrected milk, lbs. 105.0 109.5
Table 2. Farm Two Results
  Control Period Trial Period
Number of cows 394 394
Standardized days in milk 150 150
Milk yield, lbs. 96.5 104.1
Fat % 4.12 3.87
Protein % 3.12 3.09
Fat yield, lbs. 3.95 3.98
Protein yield, lbs. 3.08 3.20
3.5% fat-corrected milk, lbs. 106.1 108.9
Energy-corrected milk, lbs. 104.9 108.7

For more information about the Canola Council of Canada or its field trials, contact Brittany Dyck at 204-982-7763.