Chuck Schwab, professor emeritus at the University of New Hampshire, shared the latest developments in amino acid formulation at the Penn State Nutrition Conference last month. Schwab offered five steps for maximizing milk components and milk protein utilization through amino acid formulation:

  1. Feed a blend of forages, processed grains, and byproduct feeds in a balanced ration that provides a blend of fermentable carbohydrates and physically effective fiber that maximizes feed intake, milk yield and yield of microbial protein.
  2. Feed adequate, but not excessive, levels of rumen-degradable protein to meet rumen bacterial requirements for amino acids and ammonia.
  3. Feed high-lysine protein supplements to achieve a targeted level of lysine in milk protein that comes as close as possible to meeting the optimal concentration.
  4. Feed a "rumen-protected" methionine supplement in the amounts needed to achieve the optimal ratio of lysine and methionine in milk protein.
  5. Do not overfeed-rumen undegradable protein. Let the cows tell you how much they need!