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Protein efficiency in intensive dairy production : A Swedish example

Swensson, Christian; Lindmark-Månsson, Helena LU ; Smedman, Annika; Henriksson, Maria and Modin Edman, Anna-Karin LU (2017) In Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture
Abstract

BACKGROUND: Animal agriculture has been criticised in terms of its sustainability from several perspectives. Ruminants such as dairy cows can transform inedible, low-quality protein in roughage and by-products from the food industry into the high-quality protein found in milk and meat. Evaluation of the protein conversion efficiency of dairy production from a sustainability and resource perspective must be based on the proportion of the animal feed edible to humans. A relevant metric is thus edible feed protein conversion ratio (eFPCR), i.e. human-edible protein output in cow's milk per unit human-edible protein input in feed. In this study, eFPCR was calculated for five regionally adapted and realistic feed rations fed to Swedish dairy... (More)

BACKGROUND: Animal agriculture has been criticised in terms of its sustainability from several perspectives. Ruminants such as dairy cows can transform inedible, low-quality protein in roughage and by-products from the food industry into the high-quality protein found in milk and meat. Evaluation of the protein conversion efficiency of dairy production from a sustainability and resource perspective must be based on the proportion of the animal feed edible to humans. A relevant metric is thus edible feed protein conversion ratio (eFPCR), i.e. human-edible protein output in cow's milk per unit human-edible protein input in feed. In this study, eFPCR was calculated for five regionally adapted and realistic feed rations fed to Swedish dairy cows producing different annual milk yields typical for high-yielding, intensive dairy production. RESULTS: All scenarios except one showed a protein efficiency ratio of >1 for human-edible protein. Thus, depending on the composition of their diet, most Swedish dairy cows can convert human-inedible protein into edible, high-value protein. However, higher milk yield led to a decrease in eFPCR, regardless of diet. CONCLUSION: Dairy cows in high-yielding, intensive production systems such as those used in Sweden have the capacity to convert low-value inedible protein into high-value edible protein. However, a minor part of the dairy cow diet is edible for humans and this fraction must be minimised to justify dairy production. These results are in line with previous findings on protein conversion efficiency and add scientific input to the debate on sustainable food systems and sustainable diets.

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Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
epub
subject
keywords
Dairy cow rations, Feed efficiency, Milk production, Protein efficiency
in
Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture
publisher
Wiley-Blackwell
external identifiers
  • scopus:85019917888
ISSN
0022-5142
DOI
10.1002/jsfa.8362
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
2d081c6e-17b4-4d26-aa5b-2e2b8f65b088
date added to LUP
2017-06-16 13:31:17
date last changed
2017-06-18 03:00:04
@article{2d081c6e-17b4-4d26-aa5b-2e2b8f65b088,
  abstract     = {<p>BACKGROUND: Animal agriculture has been criticised in terms of its sustainability from several perspectives. Ruminants such as dairy cows can transform inedible, low-quality protein in roughage and by-products from the food industry into the high-quality protein found in milk and meat. Evaluation of the protein conversion efficiency of dairy production from a sustainability and resource perspective must be based on the proportion of the animal feed edible to humans. A relevant metric is thus edible feed protein conversion ratio (eFPCR), i.e. human-edible protein output in cow's milk per unit human-edible protein input in feed. In this study, eFPCR was calculated for five regionally adapted and realistic feed rations fed to Swedish dairy cows producing different annual milk yields typical for high-yielding, intensive dairy production. RESULTS: All scenarios except one showed a protein efficiency ratio of &gt;1 for human-edible protein. Thus, depending on the composition of their diet, most Swedish dairy cows can convert human-inedible protein into edible, high-value protein. However, higher milk yield led to a decrease in eFPCR, regardless of diet. CONCLUSION: Dairy cows in high-yielding, intensive production systems such as those used in Sweden have the capacity to convert low-value inedible protein into high-value edible protein. However, a minor part of the dairy cow diet is edible for humans and this fraction must be minimised to justify dairy production. These results are in line with previous findings on protein conversion efficiency and add scientific input to the debate on sustainable food systems and sustainable diets.</p>},
  author       = {Swensson, Christian and Lindmark-Månsson, Helena and Smedman, Annika and Henriksson, Maria and Modin Edman, Anna-Karin},
  issn         = {0022-5142},
  keyword      = {Dairy cow rations,Feed efficiency,Milk production,Protein efficiency},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {05},
  publisher    = {Wiley-Blackwell},
  series       = {Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture},
  title        = {Protein efficiency in intensive dairy production : A Swedish example},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jsfa.8362},
  year         = {2017},
}