Dairy cows

Last changed: 06 December 2023

Locally produced protein feeds and vitamin supply

Project managers: Birgitta Johansson and Elisabeth Nadeau, Department of Animal Environment and Health, SLU 

There is a general ban on the use of synthetic vitamins in organic production in the whole EU but currently there is an exemption from this ban. It is of great interest to find new solutions.  

The study will be performed at Tingvall Organic Dairy Research Farm (Hushållningssällskapet Väst) and will run for two lactations.

  • Peas will be compared to field beans during the first lactation and to lupin during the second lactation.
  • Both groups will be fed minerals without synthetic vitamins.
  • Half the cows in each group will be fed semi-natural vitamin E for 3-4 weeks before calving to 2-3 weeks after calving. 
  • Blood and milk samples will be analysed for vitamins to examine the effects of adding semi-natural vitamin E during the critical time around calving.
  • Milk yield, milk composition, health and fertility will be registered to determine effects of protein source.


EU regulations are forcing organic dairy producers to find ‘new’ protein sources. In 2000, the use of hexane-extracted feed was prohibited in organic dairy production, which ended the use of protein meals. The aim of organic farming is to compose a diet of 100% organic feed. It can be difficult to find high-quality organic protein feeds, since there is a shortage of organically produced feed with a high AAT-content. It would be convenient and economical to be able to produce protein feed locally. Cold pressed rapeseed cake is an excellent protein source in organic dairy production and results of our new study will hopefully show that field beans, peas and lupin are also useful protein sources.