Dairy producers are still feeling the pain of lower milk prices and looking for anything that will help the situation.  Have you considered lowering dietary crude protein?  Both research and on-farm trials indicate that many herds have an opportunity to lower CP levels without altering milk production.  This strategy offers the opportunity to lower feed cost without sacrificing performance.

Dr Larry Chase, Cornell University has shown through on-farm trials the opportunity to lower CP by 0.5 to 1.5 units without sacrificing milk production. 

The following points should be kept in mind as you consider implementing this on your herd.

1.     Is the current ration CP > 16.5%?

2.     Are herd MUN levels > 12 mg/dl?

3.     Are DMI running high?

If you answer yes to any one of these points you have the potential to lower ration CP levels.  If you answer no to all of these points there may be a possibility to lower ration CP but the response will be smaller.

Other factors to consider:

1.     How consistent are the daily feeding and feeding management procedures?

2.     How consistent are forage and forage dry matters?

If this is something you would like to try, make changes gradually.  If this is done successfully you may be surprised at “how low you can go”.

Spence Driver

by Spence Driver