Replace soya with distillers & save on cost
By Jessica Buss
and Sue Rider
MOST cattle producers could consider eliminating soya from maize based rations this winter to help reduce feed costs.
Mole Valley Farmers nutritionist Luppo Diepenbroek suggests replacing soya at £220/t with maize distillers.
"Maize based diets need supplementing – but protein source doesnt matter providing you include a second protein, such as rapeseed," adds Mr Diepenbroek.
He estimates that soya could be replaced with distillers and, despite the higher rate needed to supply the same protein, save 13p a cow in protein costs, or £2300 for a 100 cows over a 180-day winter.
Take for instance, a 20-litre cow on 25kg maize silage, 17.5kg grass silage, 2kg of molassed sugar beet pulp, 1.5kg soya and 2kg rapeseed meal. The total protein cost a cow, including the SBP, is 75p. Replace the soya with 2.6kg of maize distillers to maintain crude protein at 17.5%, which also allows a reduction in SBP fed to 0.8kg a cow, and protein cost falls to 62p a cow.
Axient nutritionist Diana Allen suggests a soya/rape mix is hard to beat in terms of its simplicity. "It provides a good balanced protein source with just two straights. Leave out soya altogether and you could be looking at a mix of five or six straights, and more work."
To replace some soya, however, Mrs Allen suggests groundnut, cotton extract, and Hi pro sunflower as alternatives. Up to 2kg of Regumaize – molasses and urea – is another option, as is rape.
"Maize is high in fermentable energy so it makes sense to balance it with a degradable protein such as rape meal." Urea is also highly degradable – but dont feed over 200g a cow, and ensure its well mixed into the ration, she says.
ADAS senior research consultant Bruce Cottrill also warns that at higher levels of production, attention must be paid to amino acid content of proteins and their degradability. Although protein needs of 25-30 litre cows can be supplied without soya, high yielders need more by-pass protein.
SAC beef specialist Basil Lowman advises using by-products to cut costs. "Its not worth buying soya for beef cattle this year."
A beef ration to support growth rates of 1.8-1.9kg/day could be made from 3kg of brewers grains, 1kg bread waste, and 1kg of beet pulp at a cost of just 32p/kg of liveweight gain.
He also suggests considering maize gluten as an alternative to barley and soya.
But because stock would need more maize gluten, for the equivalent weight gain, it must cost 81% of the barley/soya mix.
PROTEINS FOR MAIZE
• Maize distillers can replace soya.
• High yielders need by-pass protein.
• Consider maize gluten for beef.
Maize grown with runner beans could solve the problem of low protein maize silages. This crop was harvested at 28%DM and before the beans hardened as part of a maize bi-cropping study at CEDAR, University of Reading. The maize was sown and runner beans drilled between the rows on the same day.
At the end of June, runner bean growth was poor, but in the following six weeks it became rampant. The crop will be used for sheep intake and digestibility studies this winter. If successful, trials in lactating dairy cows should follow next year. The crop was cut before a frost, and before beans hardened and plant digestibility fell. The maize was about 28% dry matter.