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Higher Milk Protein Price Suggests Ration Change

February 5, 2020


Jim Dickrell

With milk protein prices hovering around $3 per pound, it may be the right time to make adjustments to your ration to increase protein production, say Bill Weiss and Dianne Shoemaker, both Extension specialists with Ohio State University.


Dairy protein prices have been above $3/lb since October, peaking at $3.91 in November. The January protein price has slipped to $2.96/lb while butterfat price is $2.11/lb. December protein prices were $3.65/lb.


“Increasing dietary starch at the expense of fiber usually increases milk protein yield but unfortunately reduces fat yield,” says Weiss. “Because of the high price of milk protein, consider increasing starch concentration of the diet but not so much that it causes health issues.”


He says that increasing starch concentration about 5 percentage units and reducing neutral detergent fiber by the same amount is expected to increase the daily yield of milk protein 0.075 lb but reduce milk fat by 0.06 lb for the average Holstein cow.

“Feeding a proven source of rumen-protected methionine (RP-meth) usually increases milk protein yield,” he says. Such response will vary by diet, but on average, feeding 20 grams of RP-meth is expected to increase milk protein yield by about 0.06 lb. When milk protein is worth $2.96/lb, that increased protein production is worth about 18₵.


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