26 January 1999
Feeding vegetable waste to livestock

Question

FOLLOWING on from the earlier question on potato skins as feed; how safe is it to feed livestock with vegetable skins (including potato), from the farmhouse – skins from raw or fresh veg, during preparation and before cooking?

Response

Mitch Lewis, Animal Biology Division, SAC, Penicuik.

Answer

IT is perfectly safe to feed all types of kitchen vegetable waste to livestock although, with the quantities available, and their low dry-matter content – especially if washed – they are not going to make a large contribution to nutrient requirements.

All vegetable waste have a relatively high energy (ME) value – in the range of 12-13MJ/kg dry matter and some, like cauliflower and broccoli, are also high in protein (18-23% DM). Their DM content will, however, be low at 8-12%.

Some farms close to vegetable processing plants use large quantities of vegetable waste as a basis for cattle feeding enterprises, so you can be assured that the small quantities available from the farmhouse will be safe to feed.

However, it should be regarded as a tasty snack rather a major contribution to the diet.