1-877-625-4400 info@grandvalley.com
By JP Thibault,
Business Development at Direct Source Commodities
& Mark Bousfield,
Dairy Specialist, Grand Valley Fortifiers

In the current economic climate, with rising operating costs, certain choices are critical and can make all the difference to your bottom line. This is especially true when it comes to feeding dairy cows. With fluctuating markets, supply problems, and multiple protein source options, making the right choice to feed your herd on a stable basis can become a headache. To make the right choice for your dairy, we need to go back to basics and look at the nutritional content of the different protein choices available. Aspects to consider when choosing a protein source are quality protein content, amino acid profile, total digestibility, and energy density, while still balancing the price.

In the fall of 2023, DSC established a distribution agreement for a completely new protein source called NovaMeal. Derived from the corn industry and an innovative, patented process, DDGS are transformed into a new, multi-faceted ingredient that provides valuable, highly digestible nutrients. The process results in a product around 34% CP (Crude Protein), with high levels of rumen undegradable protein (RUP (89.5% of CP)) and branched-chain amino acids, but a low level of fat (2.5%) compared to other common protein sources. NovaMeal also provides large quantities of digestible fiber, which is an important source of energy for dairy cows. Another advantage of NovaMeal is its low unsaturated fat content. Feeding too much unsaturated fat is harmful to rumen bacteria and can result in rumen dysfunction and butterfat depression. This is something we need to be mindful of, especially when feeding higher corn silage diets and other products with high vegetable fat content.

Due to its high level of RUP, NovaMeal can replace other non-degradable protein-rich ingredients, while providing the added benefit of digestible fiber and minimizing the fat being brought in. Different on-farm scenarios show substantial savings when NovaMeal is include in dairy cow diets. Research has also shown an increase in both percentage and yield of milk components when cows are fed NovaMeal (Mjoun et al., 2010). This product can be a good addition or substitution for protein sources for all groups being fed on a dairy farm, including milking cows, dry cows, and heifers, while helping to optimize feed costs.

Mark Bousfield, Dairy Specialist at Grand Valley Fortifiers, is a pioneer in introducing NovaMeal to his customers’ rations. Mark has seen a benefit in using NovaMeal in place of or in addition to soybean meal and canola meal, due to their fluctuating prices. As NovaMeal has less fat, you are able to feed it at a higher inclusion rate than normal DDGS, thus lowering the amount of expensive protein ingredients required. Another benefit of feeding NovaMeal, is that it does not contain toxins. With this year having higher than normal mycotoxin levels in corn silage and grains, a switch to NovaMeal can help lower the toxin load in your rations. NovaMeal comes in pellet form, which has great flowability in bins and minimal shrink in commodity sheds.

The only issue with it being pelleted, is the separation in mash blends. However, the pellet cannot be seen in the ration after it is handled and processed during feed preparation, which eliminates the potential for cows to sort it out. Herds that have made the switch to NovaMeal have seen stable production of milk and components, while also reducing feed costs. Additionally, as summer gets closer and the heat typically bringing the challenge of fat depression, NovaMeal can be an excellent choice to help maintain butterfat, while reducing purchased feed costs. Think about being preventative with butterfat depression this summer and consider making the change to NovaMeal.

Talk to your GVF Dairy Specialist to see if this is a good fit on your farm.

This article was written for the Spring 2024 Central & Atlantic Dairy Grist. To read the whole Dairy Grist, click the button below.