The ratio between dietary rumen degradable organic matter and crude protein may affect milk yield and composition in dairy sheep

S. Landau*, D. Kababya, N. Silanikove, R. Nitsan, L. Lifshitz, H. Baram, I. Bruckental, S. J. Mabjeesh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The current ruminant protein systems aim at synchronizing the provision of rumen degradable organic matter (RDOM) and degradable crude protein (RDCP) but no specific information on their optimal ratio for dairy sheep is available. We studied the effect of the ratio of RDOM to RDCP on milk yield and composition, during a summer lactation, in 34 confined Assaf sheep managed under farm condition. Individual feed intake was assessed by using PEG (MW 4000) as external marker of fecal output, and indigestible INDF as internal marker of digestibility. Four total mixed rations contained two levels of RDCP (108 and 117 g/kg DM) and two levels of RDOM (510 and 570 g/kg DM). This resulted in one diet featuring high (5.3), one diet featuring medium (4.8) ratio, and two diets featuring low (4.5) ratio of RDOM to RDCP. Individual DM intake, digestibility, and the daily yields of milk components were not affected by RDOM, RDCP or RDOM/RDCP. High RDOM/RDCP tended (P < 0.10) to be associated with higher milk yield, and lower (P < 0.05) CP content. The casein/CP ratio and urea-N in milk were lowest when both dietary RDCP and RDOM were low, whereas lactose was highest (P < 0.05) when both RDOM and RDCP concentrations were high. Our data suggest that RDOM and RDCP interact on milk composition in a way that is not fully encompassed by the RDOM/RDCP ratio and that the use of this ratio to formulate diets for pre-determined milk composition is not warranted.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)115-122
Number of pages8
JournalSmall Ruminant Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2005

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Contribution from the Agricultural Research Organization, Institute of Field and Garden Crops, Bet Dagan, Israel, No. 122/2003. This research was supported by the Israel Board of Small Ruminant Research, project 257-0182. We are deeply indebted to Asher and Haim Meisles who volunteered their flock for this experiment for their excellent care of experimental animals.


  • Assaf sheep
  • Ewe milk composition
  • Rumen degradable crude protein
  • Rumen degradable organic matter


Dive into the research topics of 'The ratio between dietary rumen degradable organic matter and crude protein may affect milk yield and composition in dairy sheep'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this