31 May 1996

Dried grassprotein to replace fishmeal

DRIED grass and lucerne are natural sources of by-pass protein that can help to replace proteins such as fishmeal in ruminant diets.

Speaking at Grassland 96, Dynamic Nutrition Services Geoff Hughes said dried grass and lucerne were competitively priced quality protein sources that should be considered for use in dairy, beef and sheep diets.

"This years grass silage will be high in rumen degradable protein and so the by-pass protein is more likely to be limiting," he said. Dried grass was 50% higher in digestible undegradable protein (DUP) than silage, and also retained more of the fermentable energy (FME).

Mr Hughes explained that although it had a moderate energy level at 11 ME, the high FME (9.5MJ/kg) allowed rumen bugs to synthesise more of their own microbial protein.

This made dried grass a good concentrate to complement grass silage diets. It was also a good balancer for maize silage low in protein. The low starch and high digestible fibre content of dried grass could reduce the risk of acidosis in high maize diets, he claimed. And it could help balance rations comprising high levels of starchy feeds.

Mr Hughes said dried grass was made from specially grown swards, which were cut and then dried at 800C (1472F) in minutes. The rapid drying reduced nutrient loss. Most of the crop was made into pellets that are easy to handle.

and incorporate in rations, said Mr Hughes.

Typical protein values

Fresh grassSilageDried grass


Crude protein (%)1917.418-20

ERDP (%)12.411.610.3

DUP (%) 0.4 0.25 0.6

Geoff Hughes says dried grass and lucerne can help replace proteins like fishmeal in ruminant diets.