New feed guide highlights benefits of canola on the dairy

The Canola Council of Canada (CCC) has launched the 7th edition of the Canola Meal Dairy Feeding Guide, a comprehensive resource for incorporating canola meal into dairy cattle diets.

April 11, 2024

3 Min Read

WINNIPEG, Manitoba —

The Canola Council of Canada (CCC) has recently released the 7th edition of the Canola Meal Dairy Feeding Guide, a comprehensive guide on the use of canola meal in dairy cattle diets. The guide summarizes the latest research and gives nutritionists and dairy producers a tool to better understand the economic and animal performance benefits of feeding canola meal.

“This guide is a one-stop shop on canola meal,” said Brittany Wood, director of Canola Utilization with the CCC. “We update the guide every few years when there’s a significant body of data that helps expand our understanding and gives end users of canola meal a greater depth of information on how to feed it to dairy cows.”

Since the previous edition in 2019, a considerable amount of additional research regarding the feeding of canola meal has been conducted, including:

·Updated nutrient profiles and digestibility values for solvent extracted and expeller canola meal

·Findings regarding the use of canola meal for early lactation, using canola meal to support milk production throughout the lactation cycle

·Results from studies showing the ability of canola meal to support gut health

·The contribution of canola meal supporting environmental sustainability on the dairy

·Expanded research on feeding canola meal to dairy calves and heifers

“Our goal has always been to ensure anyone formulating rations has the most accurate information possible,” added Essi Evans, Ph.D., E+E Technical Advisory Services. “This guide includes decades of research and is regularly revised to keep it up to date.”

Research-proven results

The new research in the Canola Meal Dairy Feeding Guide aims to address two key concerns of nutritionists regarding feed formulation with canola meal — profitability and environmental sustainability.

Several field trials highlighted in the guide have shown canola meal can improve profitability. One trial conducted in Wisconsin involving 1,295 mid-lactation cows showed a significant improvement in income over feed costs. 1 The ration, formulated to contain 7.5 pounds (3.4 kilograms) of dry matter from canola meal/cow/day, reduced ration costs while increasing milk production.

“We’ve known for probably two decades that there’s a milk production advantage when feeding canola meal, but we haven’t had the full picture of why that happens,” said Wood. “With each version of the guide, we’re adding new pages to the story, so to speak, to provide a well-rounded picture based on current research.”

This economic benefit also influences environmental sustainability. Research in the Feeding Guide shows that canola meal contributes to reducing methane emissions in lactating dairy cows, providing an economical way to lower enteric methane and nitrous oxide output, the two greenhouse gases of greatest importance in livestock production. This same research also demonstrates that while enteric methane is lowered, milk production is increased.

Growing use of canola in the diets

As canola meal in dairy cattle rations continues to gain popularity the U.S., the feed guide aims to provide practical information for formulating diets with canola.

“The guide does a really nice job summarizing the literature for production, digestibility, amino acids and more,” said Jordan Kuehnl, Ph.D., a dairy consultant with Renaissance Nutrition. “It’s a nice blend of the practical and the theoretical. Producers can see how cows performed production-wise for canola versus other protein sources, and nutritionists can dive deeper into digestibility information.”  

Kuehnl, whose graduate research on the use of canola meal in early lactation is featured in the guide, says he’s seen more and more producers using canola meal over time. “Producers can see that canola meal results are backed by research and can make sense from both the production response side and the economic side.”

Learn more about canola meal and download a free copy of the Canola Meal Dairy Feed Guide at

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