Extruded pea (Pisum sativum) as alternative to soybean protein for dairy cows feeding in organic Alpine farms

Cozzi, Giulio; Boukha, Aziza; Contiero, Barbara; Gottardo, Flaviana
April 2010
Italian Journal of Animal Science;Apr2010, Vol. 9 Issue 2, p194
Academic Journal
The study evaluated the use of extruded pea as an alternative to soybean in the protein feeding of dairy cattle raised in organic Alpine farms. The research was carried out in a commercial organic dairy farm located in the Province of Trento (Northern Italy) and it considered two separate periods of cows’ lactation: early and late lactation. According to the traditional management practice of alpine dairy herds with the seasonal calving of the cows in early winter, the former period was carried out during the cold season when cows were housed indoors, while the latter period started after the transfer of the entire herd to an alpine pasture for the summer grazing. In both periods, 16 cows of Rendena breed were equally assigned to 2 experimental groups. The dietary forage (meadow hay in early lactation or pasture in late lactation) was supplemented to one group of cows with a Control concentrate in which soybean expeller, sunflower expeller and wheat bran were the main protein feeds. Soybean proteins were replaced by extruded peas in the Soy-free concentrate given to the other group of cows. The daily amount of concentrate was adjusted to the individual milk yield on a weekly basis adopting ratios of 0.360 and 0.125 kg of DM per kg of milk in early and late lactation periods, respectively. Cows receiving Soy-free concentrate showed a higher milk yield than the Control cows in both lactation periods (18.7 vs 17.5 kg/d in early lactation and 9.3 vs 8.6 kg/d on pasture, respectively). Milk fat and protein were not affected by the diet at any stage of lactation, while a higher concentration of milk urea was observed in milk samples taken from Soy-free cows in both periods of the study. This result could have been promoted by the higher soluble fraction of extruded pea proteins in comparison to that of soybean expeller. Cows feeding behaviour was monitored only in the early lactation period and despite of the different amount of concentrate consumed by the two groups of cows (7.0 vs 6.6 kg/cow/d for Soyfree and Control, respectively), their total time spent eating and ruminating was not affected by the diet. Based on these findings, extruded peas can be considered a valuable alternative to soybean in the protein feeding of cattle raised for organic milk production in the Alpine region.


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