Rumen-protected lysine, methionine, and histidine increase milk protein yield in dairy cows fed a metabolizable protein-deficient diet

C. Lee, A. N. Hristov, T. W. Cassidy, K. S. Heyler, H. Lapierre, G. A. Varga, M. J. de Veth, R. A. Patton, C. Parys

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146 Scopus citations


The objective of this experiment was to evaluate the effect of supplementing a metabolizable protein (MP)-deficient diet with rumen-protected (RP) Lys, Met, and specifically His on dairy cow performance. The experiment was conducted for 12. wk with 48. Holstein cows. Following a 2-wk covariate period, cows were blocked by DIM and milk yield and randomly assigned to 1 of 4 diets, based on corn silage and alfalfa haylage: control, MP-adequate diet (ADMP; MP balance: +9 g/d); MP-deficient diet (DMP; MP balance: -317. g/d); DMP supplemented with RPLys (AminoShure-L, Balchem Corp., New Hampton, NY) and RPMet (Mepron; Evonik Industries AG, Hanau, Germany; DMPLM); and DMPLM supplemented with an experimental RPHis preparation (DMPLMH). The analyzed crude protein content of the ADMP and DMP diets was 15.7 and 13.5 to 13.6%, respectively. The apparent total-tract digestibility of all measured nutrients, plasma urea-N, and urinary N excretion were decreased by the DMP diets compared with ADMP. Milk N secretion as a proportion of N intake was greater for the DMP diets compared with ADMP. Compared with ADMP, dry matter intake (DMI) tended to be lower for DMP, but was similar for DMPLM and DMPLMH (24.5, 23.0, 23.7, and 24.3. kg/d, respectively). Milk yield was decreased by DMP (35.2. kg/d), but was similar to ADMP (38.8. kg/d) for DMPLM and DMPLMH (36.9 and 38.5. kg/d, respectively), paralleling the trend in DMI. The National Research Council 2001. model underpredicted milk yield of the DMP cows by an average (±SE) of 10.3 ± 0.75. kg/d. Milk fat and true protein content did not differ among treatments, but milk protein yield was increased by DMPLM and DMPLMH compared with DMP and was not different from ADMP. Plasma essential amino acids (AA), Lys, and His were lower for DMP compared with ADMP. Supplementation of the DMP diets with RP AA increased plasma Lys, Met, and His. In conclusion, MP deficiency, approximately 15% below the National Research Council requirements from 2001, decreased DMI and milk yield in dairy cows. Supplementation of the MP-deficient diet with RPLys and RPMet diminished the difference in DMI and milk yield compared with ADMP and additional supplementation with RPHis eliminated it. As total-tract fiber digestibility was decreased with the DMP diets, but DMI tended to increase with RP AA supplementation, we propose that, similar to monogastric species, AA play a role in DMI regulation in dairy cows. Our data implicate His as a limiting AA in high-producing dairy cows fed corn silage- and alfalfa haylage-based diets, deficient in MP. The MP-deficient diets clearly increased milk N efficiency and decreased dramatically urinary N losses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6042-6056
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of dairy science
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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