A strategy to reduce crude protein levels within dairy cow diets without compromising performance, health, welfare or fertility

Aims & Objectives
To devise diets that allow dietary crude protein (CP) levels to be reduced below those currently used in commercial practice, without compromising milk yield, milk composition, or herd fertility.

Expected Outcomes

  • Improved understanding of the effect of reduced levels of dietary crude protein on health and welfare in dairy cows, on the efficiency of nitrogen utilisation and green house gas emissions.
  • Leaflets and technical information on protein rationing for dairy cows, including effects on performance, health and welfare.  

Start Date      
August 2011             

Completion Date
June 2015 

Lead Contractor
University of Nottingham - Research Partnership study 

Other Delivery Partners
University of Reading, Harper Adams University, SRUC, Royal Veterinary College, Aberystwyth University

AHDB Dairy

Literature review: reducing protein in dairy cow diets

Scientific literature
Sinclair, K.D., Garnsworthy, P.C., Mann, G.E., Sinclair, L.A. 2013. Reducing dietary protein in dairy cow diets: implications for nitrogen utilization, milk production, welfare and fertility. Animal p1-13 DOI: DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1751731113002139

Sinclair, K., Garnsworthy, P., Mann, G., Sinclair, L.A. 2013. Reducing dietary protein in dairy cow diets: theoretical considerations and practical constraints in relation to cow productivity, welfare and fertility. 45th University of Nottingham Feed Conference Proceedings. Nottingham, 25-26 June 2013.


For further information please contact: stephen.whelan@ahdb.org.uk or call 024 7647 8632