The objective of this meta-analysis was to determine the effects of the substitution of a protein source by canola meal (CM) on lactational responses (CM minus control) in dairy cows.

The study included 49 comparisons of isonitrogenous (±1.0 percent dietary CP content) dietary treatments published since 1975 (27 experiments). The CM intake ranged from 1.0 to 4.0kg/d (standard deviation = 0.65). Regressions were forced through the origin, weighted by sample size, and controlled for changes in dry matter intake and in dietary concentrations of CP and ether extract.

Milk yield and milk protein yield responded positively to the substitution of a protein source by CM. The response in milk protein yield was affected by the type of protein source that was substituted; the positive response was half less when CM was substituted for soybean meal compared with substitution of CM for other protein sources. The latter effect was in part related to a positive response on milk protein percentage when CM replaced protein sources other than soybean meal. The response in efficiency of N utilization (milk N yield/N intake) was positive to the substitution of a protein source by CM. Negative changes in supply of metabolizable protein (MP) estimated from the 2001 National Research Council model were associated with positive responses in milk protein yield with CM substitution, a finding contrary to the expected positive relationship between supply of MP and milk protein yield.

In conclusion, a protein supplement can be substituted by CM with positive effects on milk and milk protein production. These data also indicate an underestimation of MP supply associated with CM inclusion in dairy rations using the National Research Council model.

Source: R. Martineau, D.R. Ouellet, H. Lapierre/Journal of Dairy Science