Lactational and systemic responses to the supplementation of protected methionine in soybean meal diets.
Twenty-seven Holstein cows (14 primiparous and 13 multiparous) were randomly assigned to diets containing soybean meal without or with 15 g of added DL-methionine daily, provided as 50 g of ruminally protected methionine product, during wk 4 through 16 postpartum. Cows were fed a 15.3% crude protein total mixed diet of (dry matter basis) 30% corn silage, 15% alfalfa hay, and 55% concentrate mix. Yields of milk (32.9 and 35.2 kg/d), 4% fat-corrected milk (27.8 and 29.5 kg/d), and solids-corrected milk (28.5 and 30.1 kg/d) were higher for cows fed supplemental methionine. Milk protein percentage (2.99 and 3.06) was increased with supplemental methionine, while the percentage of fat (2.96 and 3.00), solids-not-fat (8.69 and 8.73), and total solids (11.67 and 11.71) were similar among diets. Dry matter intake (19.3 and 21.3 kg/d) was higher with methionine supplementation. Ruminal pH, volatile fatty acids, ammonia, and serum urea were generally unaffected by methionine supplementation. Concentrations of methionine in arterial and venous serum were elevated slightly by methionine supplementation, but the first-limiting amino acid for milk production, as calculated by several methods, was not changed.