This press release is available in Spanish.
Improving the nutrition of dairy cattle is a key instrument for reducing the environmental problems caused by the accumulation of nitrogen on dairy farms. Research conducted in the Basque Institute for Agricultural Development and Research, Neiker-Tecnalia, and led by the biologist Haritz Arriaga in collaboration with the Universitat Autnoma in Barcelona, has demonstrated that up to 35% of the accumulated nitrogen on dairy farms in the Basque Country can be reduced with a balanced diet in protein content without reducing milk production.
The first part of the research was conducted in 64 commercial farms in the Basque Country, in which it was shown that on most of these (70%) the diet of the lactating cows was excessively rich in proteins. The quantity of protein ingested is directly related to the faecal and urinary excretion of N (R2 = 0.7), because 6.25% of the protein is formed by this chemical element. Thus, the greater the ingestion of protein the greater nitrogen losses into the environment, despite the milk production is also higher. So, the purpose of farmers' should be an adjustment of protein consumption to the nutritional needs of the cattle without reducing the production and quality of milk. In this sense, results demonstrated that up to 35% of the accumulated nitrogen on dairy farms in the Basque Country can be reduced with a balanced diet of proteins. The results also demonstrated that nutritional strategies can reduce the accumulation of nitrogen on high-density dairy farms. The concentration of this chemical element per hectare of available soil can be reduced by 11.2% through the optimisation of protein content in rations.
Feed for reducing nitrogen
In the second study, the research group of Neiker-Tecnalia analysed the efficient use of nitrogen in the animal through a g
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