Canola meal may be a better deal than people think.

According to researchers from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the amount of metabolizable protein supplied by canola meal appears to be higher than estimated by the National Research Council (NRC) model.

The researchers based their findings on a meta-analysis involving 49 research studies. Milk yield and milk protein yield responded positively to the substitution of a protein source by canola meal, the researchers wrote in the March edition of the Journal of Dairy Science.

The positive responses in milk production and milk protein percentage and yield suggest a more efficient N metabolism, which might be related to a greater supply of (essential amino acids) or an improvement in the duodenal profile of supplied (essential amino acids),” they wrote. Canola meal contains relatively high concentrations of essential amino acids, such as methionine and lysine, compared with other common protein sources, such as corn gluten meal or distillers products, the researchers said. Positive responses were especially prevalent when canola meal replaced protein sources other than soybean meal.