Role of Moist Co-Product Feeds

Moist co-product feeds have been used as animal feeds for decades. Products such as brewers’ grains, draff (wet distillers) and pressed beet pulp are well recognised and have more recently been joined by products such as orange peel and apple pulp.

Keenan have a wealth of experience of using a range of moist feeds all around the world. These products are the remains of either human grade food and drink production or co-products from industrial alcohol production. 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.

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.

The clamp should be clean, material should be well consolidated and salt or a suitable preservative should be applied to the surface to limit yeast and mould growth. Impermeable plastic sheets are now available and these are a good investment bearing in mind the value of the feed being stored underneath.

Ration formulation

Moist feeds are widely used in Keenan mixed rations for dairy cows, youngstock, beef and sheep. Products such as brewers’ grains and draff 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. These products can significantly reduce silage requirements, freeing up land for grazing or cash cropping – this is particularly important in the beef sector.

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. Moist feeds have a part to play in maximising feed efficiency provided the guidance shown above is followed.

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.

Gains on the Keenan System are delivering and extra 2 litres a cow a day, or 20kg LWG on short-term finishers over a 100 day finishing period from the same feed.


Question 1 (24 August)

What was the increase in margin per cow per day in Nicki Scott’s dairy herd after implementing Rumans advice after taking on the Blue Chip offer?

a) 80p a day

b) 81p a day

c) 75p a day

Question 2 (31 August)

After treatment, how long can soda grain be clamped?

a) at least three months

b) at least six months

c) at least nine months

Question 3 (7 september)

How many kilograms of bicarbonate can a dairy cow produce daily, providing cud chewing is at its optimum?

a) 2kg

b) 2.5kg

c) 3kg

Question 4 (14 september)

What are the milk yield gains on the Keenan System for the same feed?

a) 3 litres a cow a day

b) 1 litre a cow a day

c) 2 litres a cow a day