Faba beans (Vicia faba) is a grain legume that may be considered as dual-purpose feed for protein and starch contents. Due to its high protein (28 – 32% dry matter; DM) and starch contents (40% DM), faba beans can replace both protein meals and cereal grains in dairy cow diets.
When compared with soybean meal, the protein in faba beans is more ruminally degradable, richer in lysine and lower in sulfur amino acids methionine and cysteine. Faba beans contain anti-nutritional factors that can have negative effects on cow performance, including tannins, trypsin inhibitors, protease inhibitors, lectins, gallic acid and phytoestrogen compounds. Therefore, applying heat-based processing treatments to faba beans is recommended to reduce the effects of anti-nutritional factors and to increase its undegradable protein fraction.