When you compare values in feeds, you need the whole picture-instead of just one component-like the crude protein. Based on crude protein alone, canola would need to be $63.00 per ton cheaper than soybean meal-just to break even, as soy is typically a 46% CP feed and canola is only 36% on average.
However, studies have shown that when canola meal was fed instead of soybean meal (adjusted so that they both supplied the same amount of crude protein), canola meal diets produced 2.2 pounds more milk than soybean meal (Broderick 2015). Let’s take a look at why-and how it affects its value:
1. The amino acid profile is more balanced.
Soybean meal supplies a good amount of lysine, one of the limiting amino acids, but is very low in methionine. Canola meal has more of a balanced profile, containing a fair amount of both.
2. There is more digestible energy than soybean meal.
Soybean meal has almost no oil left in it, while canola has 2-3%, kind of like the old process linseed meal. It also has more digestible fiber, which is more of a slow release type of energy.
3. It is more palatable than soybean meal.
Typically, soybean meal is a little bitter for cows-an acquired taste. In side by side studies, diets that had the canola in them had increased intakes of 0.9# per head per day.(Lui, 2016)
So the value of canola should reflect these differences. I usually figure the spread between canola meal and soybean meal should be about $42.00-meaning canola should be $42.00 cheaper per ton or 2.5 cents higher than soybean meal on a cost per pound of protein basis.
Watch that price! Start blending in or replacing the canola with soy-or if the price is right, a little linseed meal.
Just my 2 cents (or maybe, 2.5 cents).