News last update:6 Aug 2012

Tips for feeding moist feeds

Moist co-product feeds such as brewers' grains, wet distillers and pressed beet pulp are well recognised and have more recently been joined by products such as orange peel and apple pulp.

In the Britishagricultural magazine Farmers Weekly the experiences of Keenan, manufacturer of mixer wagons, were highlighted.

As new bioethanol plants come on line, the quantity of protein rich co-products will increase, offering an opportunity to reduce animal feed costs against rising grain prices.

Three key elements
The three key elements to ensure good returns from feeding moist co-products are as follows:

  • Purchase price
    This must be calculated back to a cost per tonne of dry matter and cost per unit of energy and protein.
    Since moist feeds typically contain between 50% and 80% water, haulage costs can vary dramatically. Brewers' grains are typically 24-25% DM - similar to average silage, so at a cost of £24/t they equate to £100/t DM. If haulage costs drive them up to £30/t, the DM cost rises to £125/t.
  • Storage losses
    All moist feeds will be subject to storage losses, either through direct liquid run-off, dry matter losses during fermentation or losses due to moulding and decay.
    Long term storage offers the chance to capitalise on lower "out of season" prices, but storage facilities need to be good and attention to detail when clamping and sealing is critical to prevent purchase price savings being lost.
  • Ration formulation
    Moist feeds are widely used in mixed rations for dairy cows, young stock, beef and sheep. Products such as brewers' grains and distillers grains are wholesome ingredients which supply energy and protein while also stimulating forage intakes when fed at appropriate levels.
    Orange and apple pulp can be useful forage extenders when mixed with straw and protein balancers.
Feed efficiency
The primary driver for profitable milk and meat production is feed efficiency. This determines the quantity and value of saleable output achieved from the total feed produced and delivered onto the farm.

Quality feed will produce the best results and by building in the flexibility in your feeding system to use the best feeds at the best value, the potential gains are huge.

The full story can be found in Farmers Weekly

Editor AllAboutFeed

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