Research project OPTImizing Protein Nutrition in cattle to tackle the N- and P-excretions to the environment in an economical way

In progress EKOPTI
Cow eating roughage

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Main research question

The main objective of the EKOPTI project (Optimizing Protein and Cow) is to refine the protein in cattle feed so the protein can be used more efficiently. The focus will be on improving the protein quality of home-grown feeds, developing protein saving feeding strategies through precision nutrition and improving feed efficiency and protein utilization through optimization of the rumen function. Efforts will always be made to limit nitrogen and phosphorus excetions and emissions to the environment in an economical way.

Research approach

Through 3 ILVO animal trials and 7 specific cases on practicing farms, protein saving strategies will be evaluated for animal performance, production, protein savings, feed efficiency, cost efficiency and environmental and climate impact. These trials and practical cases are divided into three work packages, all designed to save protein; optimization of roughage quality, precision feeding; and more efficient use of protein in the cow. A phosphate scan and an economic and ecological evaluation will be made for each strategy. Through scientific publications, demo- and study days, discussion groups and practical fact sheets, the acquired knowledge will be spread and implemented to farmers and involved companies.


This project can have an economical impact on the entire cattle sector, by applying protein saving strategies validated in practical cases. Moreover, certainly companies that have to take ammonia saving measures because of PAS need this project. EKOPTI wants to prepare the entire sector for possible new legal obligations and avoid herds to shrink or close due to climate and environmental legislations.