Dairy farmers are being advised that switching protein sources to British wheat distillers could save a 300 cow herd over £830 per month1.
“Protein plays a critical role in driving milk yields. However, it’s often one of the more expensive elements in the ration,” says Bethany May, ruminant nutritionist at Trident Feeds.
“This cost is currently being compounded as global protein sources such as Sunflower meal have reduced in availability, Hipro Soya prices are volatile and uncertain, and Rapeseed meal remains expensive due to seasonal reductions in supply. For these reasons producers should consider British wheat distillers (WDDGS), a UK grown high-protein alternative,” she adds.
Miss May explains that WDDGS, produced at the Vivergo plant in Hull, is a high-quality protein feed with a good level of by-pass protein, and is better value compared to some other mid-protein options.
“Farm delivered over the next few months, WDDGS is looking around £20/tonne cheaper than Rapeseed meal*,” says Miss May.
“Another advantage of feeding WDDGS is that it provides more metabolisable protein (MP) per kg of dry matter (DM), at a cheaper price per gram of MP than Rapeseed meal and Sunflower meal, ultimately giving you more MP for your money.”
She explains that MP comprises of rumen degraded protein being converted into microbial protein, and any rumen by-pass protein which can then both be utilised by the cow.
“For dairy rations, MP intake is a key driver of milk yield, so it’s important to look at the quantities provided by a particular feed as well as the overall levels of crude protein (CP). Ultimately if you can get more protein from a good value feed source, the ration will be more cost-effective,” she adds.
“Prices per kg of CP from WDDGS are significantly cheaper compared to CP from competitor feeds. For example, CP from WDDGS is around 9% cheaper than the protein from Rapeseed meal and 20% cheaper than the equivalent amount from Sunflower meal.
“These individual cost savings help reduce the overall ration cost, meaning it’s cheaper to completely replace Rapeseed meal with WDDGS1, which also provides 1.8 MJ/kg DM more energy than Rapeseed meal. If replacing 3kg in a ration, this provides enough extra energy for ~1Litre milk, which equates to a potential £93.50/tonne* of additional value.”
Along with the cost savings that can be made and performance benefits to the herd, WDDGS provides further advantages.
“It’s a highly palatable feed, which stimulates the intake of less palatable components to the ration. The distillery product also contains high levels of yeast fragments, which stimulates rumen activity, promoting fibre digestion and overall feed efficiency.
“The cheaper cost to WDDGS does not mean that quality is compromised, with both nutritional and non-nutritional components outweighing that of alternatives, so it should definitely be a consideration for dairy rations,” concludes Miss May.