Feeding by-products for sustainable advantage

In Brazil utilising waste products from other agricultural as feed sources is an integral part of the nation’s goal of leading the world in the efficiency and the scale of beef production.

“We have today 204 million more cattle than ten years ago producing 36% more beef and we are getting bigger and more efficient. We are eager to put all that surplus of beef in the international market and become the major beef exporter in the world,” said Flavio Santos, from the Escola Superior de Agricultura Luiz de Queiroz at São Paulo University, Brazil.

“So we need to move from a low production grazing system to a more intensive system based on high production tropical forages.”

Typically Mr Santos said these forages would be made up using orange pulp and sugar cane waste as well as other waste products from soybean production as well as cotton seed meal and peanut meal.

Use of by-products in Brazil (in tons)
Citrus pulp 1.2m
Soybean hulls 1.7m
Corn gluten feed .3m
Wheat middlings 3m
Wet brewers grains 3m
Whole cottonseed 2.6m 

More than 80% of nutritionists in Brazil used by-products of other industries in their feed rations with citrus pulp now making up 40% of the dry matter content in the ration.

By-products are attractive due to their affordability, ability to deliver correct nutrition and the fact corn grown in the country is not as easily digested by cattle as US varieties of corn.

In milk production replacing 50% of a corn based diet with orange pulp saw a marginal increase in milk production averaged across five studies cited by Mr Santos.

On a 50-50 mix of pulp and corn cows produced 29.29kg of milk per day with 3.41% fat and 3.02% protein.

In a feedlot trial for beef cattle final bodyweight was 526.kg on a 50-50 corn/pulp mix compared to 493kg for a 100% corn diet.

The Game Changers: The 27th Annual Alltech International Animal Health and Nutrition Symposium is held at the Lexington Convention Centre, Kentucky, USA from 22-25 May 2011.

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