Legumes in the diet of dairy cows from the economic perspective
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Based on the experimental data, one can conclude that feed rations may comprise peas var. ‘Bruno’ and faba beans var. ‘Lielplatone’ grown in Latvia, thereby replacing the use of imported soybean cake. After summarising the results of trials, one can conclude that the diets comprising only one kind of legumes (peas or beans) were the most economically efficient, while the highest production efficiency was achieved if incorporating 22–24% ‘Lielplatone’ faba beans into the diet for dairy cows. In Europe and Latvia, foods of animal origin comprise, on average, 45% of the total agricultural output value; an essential role in the production of the foods is played by the supply of protein-rich feedstuffs to the livestock industry. An analysis of the factors influencing productivity in dairy farming shows that a diet is the most important factor that promote or hinder the functioning of the inherited genetic potential. In order to meet the dietary energy, protein and mineral requirements of cows, the cows have to be fed a diet according to their physiological condition. In recent years in many countries, research investigations into protein sources have been conducted, as a high protein content of feedstuff is the most expensive component of a feed ration. For this reason, their use in livestock diets might be economically inefficient and therefore the key focus has to be placed on opportunities to increase the content of protein in domestically produced feeds.