Cost-Effective Protein:
Balancing Lactating Rations with Optigen®

In the last two months, protein sources commonly fed to dairy cows have increased in cost by approximately 40%. Dairy nutritionists, feed companies, and producers have had to refocus on selecting the most cost-effective source of proteins.

Optigen® is a unique source of slow-release NPN (non-protein-nitrogen) for rumen microbes, able to slowly supply constant N (nitrogen) up to 6-8 hours after feeding.

Alltech’s innovative manufacturing technology produces Optigen with the right physical properties — such as correct specific density, porosity, and particle size — to ensure that Optigen remains in the rumen to be available for metabolism by rumen microbes.

Optimal RDP — lowering ration cost

Research indicates that an optimal dairy diet should contain 10-12% DM (dry matter) of RDP (rumen degradable protein) for optimal rumen health, milk production, and milk components. However, in practice, many lactation diets have an RDP between 8% and 9.5%.

Optigen can be used to increase the ration’s RDP to the desired range of 10-12%. If the RDP is less than 8%, then the formulator can first increase RDP to 9.0-9.5% with other proteins and then add Optigen to bring it to 10%.

In cases in which a herd’s ration already is 10-12% RDP and the cows are producing over 85 lbs. milk per cow per day, then substitution of up to 0.5% of the RDP coming from the protein blend with Optigen allows a reduction in the cost of the ration by $0.08-0.12 (8-12 cents) per cow per day.

Concentrated, slow-release N

Due to its concentrated N content, Optigen can replace the same amount of protein contained in larger volumes of other protein sources.

For example, 0.25 lb. Optigen has the same amount of protein as 1.25 lb. high-protein SBM (soybean meal) or 1.5 lb canola meal. In a commercial dairy herd milking 1,000 lactating cows that could represent up to $29,000 per year of savings without negatively impacting animal health and production.

In fact, many farmers report obtaining the same milk production but higher butter fat and milk proteins.

Optigen is a unique source of RDP that can help optimize rumen health, leading to an improvement in N efficiency, which can reduce N excretion, lower feed costs, and improve animal performance.

For more on Optigen, including a new webinar — “Lowering Feed Cost with Slow Release Nitrogen Technology” — click here