Meeting lysine requirements is critical to maximize production, efficiency and overall health in dairy cows, but this essential amino acid must be supplemented into the diet as it cannot be produced naturally in the body. Turning to a rumen protected lysine source like USA Lysine® is a cost-effective solution to improve dairy cow feed efficiency.
Rumen protected lysine is more effective than a byproduct or commodity such as blood meal. Variations in the quality of commodity protein sources impact the amount of metabolizable protein lysine (MP Lysine) available to the animal, which can result in requirements not being met, negatively impacting performance. USA Lysine provides higher, more consistent levels of MP Lysine than other protein sources. Simply stated, with other options you don't get what you paid for. Unless it's rumen protected lysine like USA Lysine, you're likely not meeting the cow's lysine requirements.
Using blood meal as a lysine source for dairy cows is significantly less reliable because a Maillard reaction occurs when blood meal is heated and dried. Through this reaction, some of the lysine chemically binds to sugars in the blood meal, so even though the lysine is still present, it is now unavailable and cannot be used by the cow. Learn more by watching the Maillard Reaction video below.
As shown in the video, a Maillard reaction can negatively impact the amount of MP Lysine supplied by blood meal. Unfortunately, computer software cannot account for the variability, leading to unmet MP Lysine requirements. A half-pound of high-quality blood meal should provide approximately 20 grams of MP Lysine. As the figure below shows, average-quality blood meal provides 10 grams less MP Lysine compared to good-quality blood meal. The question is: Which one are you feeding? A blood meal alternative like USA Lysine is more reliable and more cost-effective.
Figure 1. The difference between good and poor quality blood meal based on the amount of MP Lysine supplied
Kemin continually tests customer blood meal samples using the In Vitro Nitrogen Indigestibility Assay (IVNIDA) method developed at Cornell University (Ithaca, NY). IVNIDA is used to determine the variability of the blood meal supply since color or particle size is not an indication of quality. The results are alarming. The figure below shows tests from over 70 blood meal samples. The variability occurs when you look at MP Lysine, which is the amount that is available to the dairy cow. The grey bars indicate samples collected from one feed mill over a period of one month, showing high variation even when sourcing from a single supplier.
Figure 2. Variations of MP Lysine supplied by 1.0 lbs of blood meal
Even though blood meal may be inexpensive, customers are often not getting what they paid for. Here are three things to remember about using blood meal as your lysine source based on IVNIDA research:
Watch the Blood Meal Variability video below to learn more.
Kemin has collected and tested more than 70 blood meal samples from customers across the United States since 2015. "The Variability of Nitrogen Digestibility in Blood Meal Negatively Impacts Ability to Formulate Diets" showcases the nitrogen digestibility of those samples and explains the negative environmental impact of its digestion by animals.
"The Truth About Blood Meal Variability" uses Kemin research to dispel the many misconceptions about blood meal quality and variability.
Reducing your reliance on blood meal not only helps minimize variability but it can open up space in your dairy cow's diet. Approximately 23 grams of USA Lysine supplies the same amount of metabolizable protein as 0.5 lbs of high-quality blood meal. This means your cows have a consistent supply of MP Lysine and you can save money, improve your ration, or both.
Variability in the digestibility of protein sources can negatively impact your bottom line. Download and read "What is the Opportunity Cost of Feeding Highly Variable Ingredients" to learn more about the economic impact that feed ingredient variability has on production and profit.
Using USA Lysine as a blood meal alternative:
Using USA Lysine as your primary lysine source for dairy cows creates a variety of opportunities. Watch the Fill the Gap video below to learn more about these opportunities.