Data were from 45 Holstein cows (23 multiparous, 22 primiparous) assigned by calving date and parity within groups to one of two isonitrogenous (16% crude protein) diets. The diets were 50% forages (corn silage, alfalfa silage) and 50% concentrate, dry basis. In diet A, soybean meal supplied 34.2% of total crude protein; in diet B, ground sweet white lupin seeds provided 37.9% of total crude protein. Cows were fed once daily during the experimental period (d 4 to 116 postpartum). Cows fed lupins consumed significantly less dry matter, produced 1.8 kg/d less milk (but not significantly different), and had lower milk protein percent. Milk fat and total solids percents were similar. Reasons for reduced intake of cows fed lupins were not evident. Traces of alkaloids (.005% dry basis) were present in diet B. Combined results of in vitro continuous culture fermentation and in situ degradation measurements indicated that crude protein from lupins was more degradable than that of soybean meal. Poor performances of cows fed lupins could be partly due to a reduced true protein supply to the small intestine.