Farm Table says:
What is the problem?
Focus on alternative feed sources has become imperative as a result of increasing cost and scarcity of maize.
In China, 840 million tons of crop residues, 30 million tons of brewer’s grains, and 15 million tons of by-products from the processing of soybean curd, rapeseed oil and potato starch are generated every year. However, these by-products are currently underutilized as animal feeds, with only a third of crop residues, a fifth of brewer’s grains, and a third of the other by-products utilized as ruminant feeds (Lin, 2009). Being readily available, cheap and relatively high in nutrient content, these by-products represent a valuable resource for feeding livestock, as well as for reducing the environmental impact of farming.
What did the research involve?
The study investigated the effects of partial or total replacement of maize on nutrient digestibility, growth performance, blood metabolites, and economics in Limousin crossbred feedlot cattle.
- 45 Limousin x Luxi bulls assigned to three treatment groups: O (45% maize), PRD (15% maize, 67% alternative feed sources), and TRD (100% alternative feed sources).
- Trial lasted 98 days
- Dry matter intake and average daily gain were recorded.
The composition of the alternative feed mix is below.
What were the key findings?
- Initial and final body weights did not differ significantly among treatment groups
- ADG and DMI were 1.72 and 8.66, 1.60 and 9.10, and 1.40 and 9.11 kg/d for OD, PRD, and TRD, respectively.
- PRD and TRD exhibited lower ADG and higher DMI than OD.
- DMI (%body weight) was comparable between groups
- Feed efficiency of PRD and TRD were lower than OD
- Feed costs ($/head/d) were 1.49, 0.98, and 0.72 for OD, PRD, and TRD, respectively
- Feed costs per kg gain ($) were significantly lower for PRD (0.63) and TRD (0.54) than OD (0.89)
- Overall profit ($/head) and daily profit ($/head/d) did not differ significantly between treatments, although TRD showed the highest economic benefits overall