In ruminant diets based on grazing or grass silage, there is normally more rumen degradable protein (RDP) than the rumen can utilise. Any excess protein is converted to urea and then excreted in urine or milk, this process is energy intensive and wasteful.
Supplementary water soluble carbohydrates (starch/sugar) will enable bacteria to convert RDP to top quality bacterial protein, creating a double benefit of allowing the levels of purchased protein (the most expensive food group) to be reduced and reducing the ‘maintenance’ energy demand.
However adding starch/sugar to the diet increases the risk of acidosis and will need to be buffered with fibre. NIS is a forage fibre from non-forage sources and it is low protein.
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