We talked about ammonia and its effects on cattle’s respiratory system. Today we turn our attention to the effects of this gas on milk quality.
A high-protein diet leads to an excessive amount of ammonia in the rumen. This extra ammonia passes through the walls of the rumen and reaches the bloodstream where it is converted into urea, mainly by the liver and to a lesser extent by the kidneys.
This process can have a negative impact on milk quality, because energy usually employed for the production of milk proteins is used to remove the ammonia in excess.
In this case, the milk produced will be low in proteins (< 3%) and will have a high urea value (>35 mg/dl – the optimal value in cow’s milk ranging between 27 and 32 mg/dl).
In order to avoid triggering these processes, it is important to balance the amount of protein in the diet of dairy cows. An important indicator for timely action on this issue is the presence of ammonia in the air of the stable, which tends to rise when there is an excess of proteins in the diet.
In conclusion, knowing the concentration of ammonia in the stable makes it possible to understand in advance whether the diet is too high in protein and whether the urea values in milk will be high.