Replacing soybean meal with canola meal improves productivity and efficiency in dairy cows

July 8, 2015

Canola Council of Canada media release

July 8, 2015 – New research supports use of canola meal over soybean meal in dairy cow diets. The research team of Dr. Glen Broderick at Broderick Nutrition and Research, Dr. Antonio Faciola at the University of Nevada and Dr. Louis Armentano of the University of Wisconsin demonstrated that canola meal can replace soybean meal and improve the productivity of dairy cows. This research has recently been published in the Journal of Dairy Science.

Historically, soybean meal has been the most common protein source in dairy cattle production. In recent years, increased production of canola has led to a greater availability of canola meal as a protein supplement in livestock diets.

“Canola meal has lower levels of crude protein compared to soybean meal, which has contributed to lower feed inclusion rates in the past, but for a dairy cow, it’s not necessarily about how much crude protein is in the ingredient but what that protein is made of,” says Carson Callum, canola meal manager at the Canola Council of Canada (CCC).

These new findings show that diet formulation using canola meal instead of soybean meal at the same level of dietary crude protein will increase milk yield and milk protein content. It can also increase nitrogen utilization, potentially lowering environmental nitrogen excretion.

“Due to increases in feed costs, nutritionists will need to find alternatives in their feed formulations. This study shows that canola meal is an exceptional protein source and alternative to soybean meal,” says Dr. Essi Evans, of Essi Evans Technical Advisory Services Inc. Evans has years of experience working with dairy nutritionists and researchers in Canada and the U.S. “Canola meal can be used in low protein dairy diets to support high levels of milk production due to its lower protein degradation and a favorable amino acid profile.”

Research by Broderick and colleagues also supports a recent meta-analysis conducted at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in Sherbrooke, Quebec by Martineau et al., 2013. Reviewing 49 different diets, canola meal improved milk yield by 0.64 kg per day and increased protein yield when compared to other protein ingredients fed at the same level.

“Research like this will help Canada’s canola industry raise the value of canola meal, and it also helps dairy farms increase their overall production efficiency,” Callum says.

Funding for this research has been provided by Agriculture and Agri‐Food Canada through the AgriInnovation Program as well as the Canola Council of Canada. Find out more at and at or link directly to the articles below:
Broderick et al., 2015
Martineau et al., 2013

The CCC 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.

Media may contact:
Carson Callum
Canola Meal Manager
Canola Council of Canada
[email protected]

The Alberta Canola Producers Commission is a farmer directed organization representing Alberta’s 14,000 canola growers and is a core funder of the Canola Council of Canada.


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