Evaluation of Canola Meal as Compared to Soybean Meal in Practical California Rations: Effects upon Long Term Lactational Performance, Reproductive Performance, and Metabolic Disease

Animal Health Benefits of Canola Products  Canola Meal 
Start Date
End Date
Principal Investigator
Peter H. Robinson - University of California (Davis)
William Van Die - Cloverdale Dairy, Nadia Swanepoel - University of California (Davis)
MCGA Funding
Total Project Funding
External Funding Partners
Canadian Agricultural Partnership, Canola Council of Canada, SaskCanola, Alberta Canola
Project Ongoing...

Research Objective

  • To substitute soybean meal (SBM) for the normal 13% canola meal (CM) in the diet of lactating dairy cows for 150 days and notice any differences
  • To substitute soybean meal for canola meal in lactating cows and notice any difference in their reproductive performance through their 2nd insemination
  • To measure the effects of substituting SBM for CM in the diet of lactating dairy cows who have clinical diseases for 150 days of milk.

Project Description

In California, canola meal (CM) is currently the industry's protein source standard for lactating dairy cow feed because soybean meal (SBM) was not economically an option. SBM is now more available for use, so this study would like to determine if switching the canola meal portion of feed with soybean meal will make a difference to lactating cows in terms of production, reproduction, and in sickness. This will be tested by having a long term study over 9 weeks with >315 cows being fed one of three feeds: the control, with normal amount of CM; the low dose, where only 3% of the CM normally included is switched with SBM; and the high dose where 6% of CM is switched with SBM. The cows will be measured for their body condition scores, milk production and quality, breeding status (ie. any changes in reproduction), blood samples (particularly to look at reproductive hormones), as well as fecal and urine samples to see if changes in protein source have any positive or negative impacts. This study is being done because there is no data on effects in the geographical area of California, and the dairy industry there heavily relies on canola meal as a protein source, with Canada being it's top exporter of CM for it's feed.

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