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Slow Breakdown Protein Meals for Supplementing on Mature Dry Pastures

At Top Country, we use CSM and copra as our protein meal base for the following reasons:

  • They are excellent sources of slow rumen degradable protein which is broken down by the microbes in the rumen over many hours enabling a prolonged supply of protein (nitrogen) for microbial production.
  • More rumen microbes?۪ means that the pasture can be broken down at a faster rate, therefore increasing the animals overall daily pasture intake.
  • Increased microbial protein means greater pasture intake and increased energy!
  • Animals are able to graze a greater distance from the water and supplement as they do not need to return as frequently for more protein.
  • Pasture utilisation becomes more even as a result of this wider grazing capability.
  • High levels of slow rumen degradable protein meals are especially beneficial for young, lactating & breeding livestock.
  • Better production responses are obtained on CSM & copra based supplements when compared to supplements with high levels of non-protein nitrogen such as urea.

We believe that urea is beneficial, but not at a high inclusion rate and only when there is plenty of dry standing mature pasture. Urea gives the rumen microbes?۪ access to nitrogen very quickly which rapidly increases the microbes?۪ reproduction rate. This however, is a short term effect, and the animal must return within half an hour for another dose. A combination of urea and slow breakdown protein meals is highly recommended.


The reason we do not use PKE or any other protein source as our dry lick base:

  • PKE contains tannins which bind the protein therefore the protein shown in the nutritional analysis is not necessarily the amount of protein that is available to the animal.
  • PKE is quite fibrous, so unless fed in a drought situation where no fibre is available in the paddock, it is a misuse of the animals?۪ energy to feed a protein source with fibre when there is already plenty of fibre in the grass.
  • Other companies use PKE as it is often cheaper than other protein sources & it is a bitter product therefore can control consumptions. It is also at times used as a filler.
  • SBM & Canola meal are very fast breakdown protein meals, and while they are excellent quality, they can be very dangerous when used in-conjunction with urea due to their high palatability. These protein meals are best used in dairies and for early weaning.


Over many years of operation and trialling products and seeing the results, Top Country firmly believes in CSM and copra as reliable and productive slow breakdown protein meal sources to form our dry lick base. If you have further questions about protein meals or would like to try our product, please call our office on 07 4622 8330.


Author: Elsie Dodd

Tags: Supplements Healthy rumen toxicities copra CMS liveweightr amen microbes safe levels urea

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