Plans for the full scale cow feeding experiment can proceed!

It’s a reality: The requirement of matching the allocated 2,4 million DKK with co-funding has been met in a joint effort by KMC, Arla, Aarhus University and Nybro Tørreri. Together with funds from the GUDP-project Organofinery the total expenditure budget is now set for the largest test of protein fractions from green biomass in recent Danish history.

This feeding trial is set up to show the potential use of green pulp and protein in the dairy production. The overall objective is to study the value of green pulp for dairy cows, and to investigate if it is possible for dairy farmers to become self-sufficient concerning by-pass proteins. Consequently, it is important to test the effects of using pulp compared to traditional silage, protein level, and effects of using green protein compared to soybean meal on dairy cow performance. Furthermore, the results are expected to make a solid base for LCA analyses and business cases linked to rethinking the feeding strategy of animal production in Denmark. Also, knowledge on scalability of the technologies involved will be a huge bonus, as we go beyond the capacity of the AU-Foulum pilot plant (1 Ton biomass/h)

Facts of the experiment:

Estimated need for pulp and green protein for the dairy cattle experiment: 18 t of DM in pulp and 2300 kg of DM of protein concentrate from the juice with 40 % protein. Grass-clover harvest is planned to happen June 2016 at an organic farmer with 900 dairy cows, close to Nybro Tørreri. The extraction is planned to take place at Nybro Tørreri, on a rented screw press (5 Ton biomass/h). Harvest, pressing, and protein preservation will be a non-stop process for several days. The pulp will be baled and bales of original grass-clover silage will be made from the same harvest for control scenarios.

The juice containing the precipitated protein will be transported to KMC, where large scale drying will render the green protein fraction to substitute soybean meal.

If the quality and amounts of the produced feed meet the needs, pulp silage and green protein will in Autumn 2016 be feed to 36 lactating cows at AU-Foulum in four periods of three weeks each, in three different scenarios; i) silage original vs. pulp, ii) low vs. sufficient protein supply, iii) green protein vs. soybean meal.

Measurements will be:

              • Feed intake
              • Milk production and composition, including some more detailed milk components
              • Feed intake behaviour
              • Faecal DM and score
              • Digestibility of crude protein and NDF


What will we learn from the experiment?

The expected results will provide information about:

              • The general feeding value of ensiled pulp
              • How well pulp ensile in large scale
              • Whether the screw pressing technology significantly affect the fibre digestibility in high producing dairy cows
              • Whether milk composition/quality is affected
              • Whether the protein value of the left-over protein in the pulp has a value as the original green forage, which means that the decrease in protein availability in the pulp (due to the removal of part of the soluble protein) is counteracted by the lower protein degradability in the rumen and eventually higher fibre digestibility (resulting in increased microbial synthesis).
              • Use of two protein levels in the ration fed allow us to (to some degree) judge the protein value of the protein left in the pulp compared to the original forage. When protein is supplied sufficient eventual main effect differences between silages will mainly be due to general feeding value as digestibility, whereas interactions between silages and protein level will tell about the protein value of the pulp for milk production in dairy cows.
              • Use of two protein sources will give a comparison of the green protein to soybean meal.
              • Feed intake behaviour will be examined, to see whether pulp feeding result in changes in eating pattern, as number of meals and meal size.

The results will allow us to make qualified estimates on the future potential use of green protein and pulp from green protein extraction in the dairy production – both in organic and conventional dairy farms and the vision of Denmark being self-sufficient concerning protein for animal and human use.

Søren Krogh Jensen, as project leader of Project 2, has the overall responsibility of the cow feeding experiment. If you have ideas for how to gain extra knowledge from the outlined activities, please contact Søren quickly through the contact information below. Planning is moving forward fast now…

Søren Krogh Jensen: