Cost Effective Protein Options

27th April 2021

By Steven Eddie, ECV Nutritionist

Feed costs are one of the main factors affecting the overall profitability on beef units. Over the last year the price of bought in proteins has risen greatly. Raw materials like Hipro Soya have seen large price increases which then cause a knock-on effect to other protein products. The Covid-19 Pandemic has also caused supply issues of alternative products due to plant shut downs and reduced production. Raw materials such as Distillers Dark Grains and Pot Ale  Syrup which make up a large proportion of cattle rations have become difficult to acquire and supply is not guaranteed.

East Coast Viners Animal Nutrition, in partnership with molasses supplier ED&F Man, can tailor your feed plan to improve animal performance while reducing costs. Including a molasses blend in your total mixed ration  improves palatability, reduces dust and increases intake. Within their product range, ED&F Man can supply molasses blends that have added protein in the form of Regulated Release Urea. These products, when combined with home grown cereals and forages, can produce a balanced diet for finishing cattle and suckler cows.

By utilising the ruminant’s natural ability to produce microbial protein, this can allow for more cost effective production. Microbial protein is the most economic source of protein for ruminants - with a high digestibility value and optimal amino acid profile. It is used in the synthesis of milk protein, muscle structure and various other enzymes and hormones. To optimise animal production, whether for milk yield or live weight gain, it is important to correctly supply protein both in terms of   rumen degradable and undegradable protein. Around 70% of the protein consumed by ruminants is broken down into ammonia which is used to produce the microbial protein.

In order to produce microbial protein, the rumen also  requires a source of fermentable energy. The inclusion of a molasses blend to the ration improves rumen function. This increase in activity is mainly due to sucrose present in the sugar in the molasses. Sucrose is a six carbon sugar that has a significant effect on fibre digestion and production of microbial protein. Sucrose fermentation also favours butyrate production which  lowers acid  loading in the rumen which in turn reduces the risk of acidosis.

The ED&F Man range of Regulated Release Molasses Blends such as Regupro and Regumaize supply a cost-effective source and an ideal combination of readily available energy and both natural and regulated release proteins.  Regulated Release is a unique patented process developed by ED&F Man Liquid Products and is designed to give rumen bacteria exactly what they need to thrive. By providing a balanced and synchronised  supply of energy and protein, this leads to increased  microbial protein production and better animal performance. With a higher yield of microbial protein, less extra protein in the form of soya or bypass protein need to be fed. This maximises rumen performance   resulting in a more cost-effective ration.

Research carried out at the University of Reading investigated the effect of replacing 1.6kg of a soya and rapemeal blend with 2kg of Regumaize 44 within a TMR. The results found a significant increase in milk protein (+0.09g/kg), an increase in milk fat (+1.5g/kg) whilst feed intake was maintained.

Regulated release products can also be used as an alternative to Pot Ale Syrup. While pot ale can be a  cost-effective liquid protein, cost and supply fluctuate throughout the year. Nutritionally, it varies in analysis depending on the process at each distillery. Dry matter contents vary from 35-45% and protein can range from 10-14% crude protein as fed. Pot Ale also has a low  sugar content so does not provide the same rumen  stimulation. Regupro products have a much higher dry matter content. This means that 0.83kg of Regupro 50 will replace the protein found in 2kg of Pot Ale. Each product in the regulated release range is blended to a formulation. This ensures that each load is consistent in analysis and physical quality.


Regupro 38 and 50:

Ideal supplement to rations containing lower protein ingredients and home-grown cereals. Helps to complement rations based on grass silage by correcting energy and degradable protein imbalances. (Dairy and Beef).

Regumaize 44 and 65:

Targeted to get the most from maize, wholecrop silage and straw. Regumaize blends have a high nutrient  density meaning that high levels of animal performance can be supported (Dairy and Beef).


Designed to complement grass, mixed forage diets and straw based rations. Ideal for balancing buffer feeds for grazing animals (Dairy, Beef and Sheep).

Steven Eddie, ECV Nutritionist

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