By Joshua Kato
With a protein content ranging between 19 to 25 percent, dried spent grains is an alternative protein ingredient of lower cost, which can be used in dairy rations instead of soybean meal. Dairy cattle have the capacity to convert plant grains into nutrients through the action of rumen microorganism. Spent grain can be used to supplement low quality dairy cattle feeds. In Uganda, Uganda Breweries Limited, Luzira and Nile Breweries in Jinja are pairing with dairy cattle farmers to help each other out.
· A supplement of up to 15 kgs/head/day of wet spent grains is adequate to cover the frequent nitrogen deficiency of dairy cattle grazing grass only pastures.
· Calves can be fed 2 to 4 kg daily.
· Because of the low calcium and potassium and high phosphorus contents, an adequate mineral supplement should be offered to growing and lactating cattle consuming wet spent grains.
· The fibre in wet spent grains is digestible by ruminants, and most spent grains is used to feed cattle.
· Dried grains are an excellent source of high quality by-pass protein; digestible fibre; amino acid, mineral and B-vitamin content. This feed ingredient is known for putting “milk in the pail”.
· Dried spent grains levels can replace up to 75% of soybean meal and can be used to feed lactating cows, since it provides improvements in digestibility, milk production efficiency, and economic return without affecting microbial efficiency.
· For cattle, 1 to 5 kg/cow/day (dry weight) of spent grain is recommended for adults and 1 to 2 kgs/cow/ day (dry weight) for calves. Experience from Kyakuwa Farm where lactating dairy cows are supplemented with 6 kgs/cow/day of spent grain during milking time shows an increase of over 30% in milk yield. Dairy cattle enjoy wet grains mixed with other feeds. Milk yield is reduced by over 50% when lactating dairy cows are not offered spent grain due to shortage. The solution is to stock sufficient amount.
· Sorghum brewer’s grains can be used fresh or dried (sun-dried).The disadvantage with sorghum brewer’s grain is its high content of anti-nutrients which can be dangerous to animals if it is fed in large quantity.