Canola meal may be a better deal than many people think. That was the message in a research item that ran in this newsletter last March.

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Now, French and Canadian researchers have found that dairy cows do just fine when canola meal replaces soybean meal or distillers grains in the diet. In an experiment involving eight rumen-fistulated Holstein cows, milk production,  dry matter intake and components did not vary significantly between diets containing canola meal, soybean meal or high-protein corn distillers grains as the single protein supplement.

In the December 2013 edition of the Journal of Dairy Science, the researchers also comment on the favorable feeding value of canola meal. A canola meal diet resulted in a better quality of metabolizable protein supply than the soybean meal and high-protein distillers grains diets, they point out. And canola meal presented no deficiency in a single essential amino acid, as soybean meal did for methionine or high-protein corn distillers grains did for lysine. Read the abstract

Meanwhile, researchers from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada have completed a meta analysis of 49 research studies and found that canola meal contains relatively high concentrations of essential amino acids compared with other common protein sources. They believe that the metabolizable protein supply in canola meal diets appears to be underestimated by the NRC model.