Protein meals are a valuable base for dry lick supplements and for inclusion in grain rations. Common high quality forms of protein meal are cottonseed meal and copra.
These protein meals provide a portion of bypass protein; this is not degraded in the rumen and passes into the small intestine where it is absorbed and utilised directly by the animal. The portion that is digested in the rumen is degraded over many hours, enabling a prolonged supply of protein (nitrogen) for microbial reproduction. More rumen microbes can then continue to breakdown pastures at a greater rate and over a longer period, hence increasing the animals?۪ overall daily pasture intake. An increase in pasture intake means that more energy and microbial protein become available to the animal.
For best results, protein meals are recommended to be fed in conjunction with a NPN source.
Bypass protein is especially important for young animals with high protein requirements for growth and cows in late pregnancy to supply protein to the growing foetus. Milk production requires significant levels of protein and therefore bypass protein is also important for lactating ruminants.