Arm & Hammer Animal and Food Production
dairy cows eating

The secret to more efficiency? More metabolizable protein.

Posted July 27, 2022 by Dr. Joel Pankowski, Sr. Manager, Dairy Technical Services

When it comes to maximizing efficiency, it’s critical that your cows are getting protein they can use. Understanding how your cows utilize metabolizable protein (MP) can impact the nutritional efficiency and productivity of your cows. While the protein requirement of feed rations is based on crude protein (CP), MP is the most important factor. Feeding similar levels of CP delivers vastly different MP levels, which can lead to unnecessarily overfeeding protein.

What does MP mean for your cows?

MP is the total of microbial protein—the protein which is produced in the rumen—plus fed protein that bypasses the rumen to the small intestine. When your cows get the right amount of MP, it supplies them with the essential amino acids they need for milk production, reproduction and other metabolic functions. The more MP present, the better the cow’s productivity.

When the rumen is functioning normally, microbes grow, replicate and then die—producing rumen microbial protein. Since MP relies on microbial protein, it’s essential your cow’s rumen is functioning normally—an aspect of the equation that is often overlooked.

Improving rumen function.

One option for increasing rumen function is supplementing FERMENTENTM as a protein source. Researchers at Cornell University studied the effectiveness of FERMENTEN as a means of improving MP through rumen activity and discovered that it supplies nutrients that positively affect microbial growth in the rumen, leading to less protein degradation and greater MP reaching the small intestine.

The research confirmed the activity of FERMENTEN in the rumen. Ruminal degradation of feed N was 15 percent lower in cows fed FERMENTEN—resulting in a significant increase in total amino acid flow from the rumen to the omasum for greater MP.

In a pen study to evaluate how improving MP translates to better dairy cow performance researchers compared three forage-corn diets with the same crude protein content:

  • Soybean meal (control)
  • FERMENTEN + soybean meal
  • Protected soybean meal

Feeding FERMENTEN increased energy corrected milk (ECM), milk protein and milk fat production and cows fed FERMENTEN performed better than control cows fed soybean meal or cows fed protected soybean meal. 

Performance Results of Cows Fed FERMENTEN chart

These results show that you can use FERMENTEN to feed a more economical, rumen degradable protein source while still gaining the higher MP that leads to better cow performance.

Want to learn more about supplementing FERMENTENTM as a protein sourceUse our rep locator to find a sales rep near you.


*Research available upon request.



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