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Using Spent Grain As A Dairy Cattle Feed Supplement

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Due to the rapid expansion of brewery factories, brewery by-products have become an option to dairy farmers looking for alternative feedstuffs.

Spent grain silage can be stored for more than six months if a silage additive is used.

Spent grain is not nutritionally complete, so it is used as a supplement to regular feed. Spent grains contain vitamins and minerals. However, lactating dairy cattle require more calcium than spent grain supplies, so supplemental calcium is required if spent grain is used as a significant proportion of the dairy cattle’s feed. If not supplemented, the growth rate could be slowed.

Spent grain can be given to the animals on its own or it can be added to poor forage or dry fodder in order to make them more succulent and palatable to the animal.

Spent grain can be offered to cows during milking time instead of a dairy concentrate. The ratio should be 6-8kg/cow/day of wet spent grain.

There is a significant increase in milk yield (litres/cow/day) when wet brewery grain is provided as a supplementary feed for lactating dairy cows.

Calves can be fed 2-4kg daily.

A drawback to brewery spent grain is that they must be used quickly or they will go bad and lose their nutritional value. They will begin to smell after only a day of warm weather. As such, they should be used within a few days of pickup.

The best spent grain is from barley. Red sorghum spent grains should be fed to cattle in limited quantities. A farmer in Uganda lost six high-yielding lactating dairy cows due to excessive consumption of sorghum spent grain. Sorghum contains anti-nutrients which can be very dangerous to animals if offered in high quantities.

Irregular supply of spent grain limits its utilisation as a dairy cattle feed supplement.

There is a need for farmer groups such as the Dairy Farmers Network or the Livestock Development Forum to contact the management of Uganda Breweries and Nile Breweries to ensure a reliable supply of spent grain to farmers.

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