“Back in 1990, I worked with my first 90-pound dairy herd. It was a very high crude protein diet (22 percent) and contained 42 pounds of grain in only 56 pounds of dry matter intake, making the ration a mere 33 percent forage. Fortunately for the cows, several pounds of soyhulls and cottonseed made up a large proportion of the TMR grain mix, helping to maintain rumen health.

Recently, I did a diet for 110 pounds of milk that was only 16.6 percent CP, contained just 24.8 pounds of grain and was a healthy, profitable 57 percent forage diet. How things have changed in 23 years! It is the purpose of this article to look at why we can today produce high levels of milk with relatively low levels of crude protein (CP).”