Distillers feeds could be answer if prices soar

Distillers feeds from the biofuels industry could become the new “gold standard” for feeding cattle if feed prices continue to soar.

Speaking at Beef Expo, nutritionist Richard Wynn of KW Feeds said farmers may have to think differently in the future when it came to feeding cattle if prices continued to increase.

“The market may make it more cost effective to feed distillers rather than cereals and to what extent will depend on the difference between the two markets.

“There has been a huge explosion in the amount of distillers feeds coming on to the market and this has driven research into how we can use the product better.”

Distillers feeds are low in starch, but high in fibre and protein, compared with cereals, which are high in starch but low in fibre and protein.

“The feed value of distiller products, which are about 13.7-14 ME, make them an extremely good feed for finishing cattle. They also contain yeast and this, we believe helps the product feed better because it settles the rumen down.”

Distillers feeds come in three forms; dry feed, moist feed, such as Trafford Gold, and liquid feed. Research by Harper Adams University College found that cattle fed on moist distiller products tended to grow faster and at slaughter, weighed consistently higher and had a lower level of liver damage.

“The fact there was less liver damage in animals fed moist distiller products compared to those fed on cereals could indicate those fed higher cereal concentrations in the ration had sub-clinical acidosis,” said Dr Wynn.