The high cost of feed grains and many high-protein grains may make the use of urea as a protein source very cost-effective in many cattle diets. Several issues must be considered, though, to make its use most effective.
Urea is a non-protein nitrogen compound. That is, the nitrogen portion of urea is used as the building block for the production of protein by rumen microbes.
Most urea contains about 45% nitrogen, and protein contains 16% nitrogen. Therefore, when urea is converted to protein, the crude protein equivalent value of urea is about 281%.
It must be recalled that urea contains no other useful feed components such as energy, minerals, or vitamins.