Winter feed costs can be reduced with more cost-effective ingredients – Teagasc

Winter feed costs can be reduced through the use of more cost-effective feed ingredients, a recent trial carried out in Teagasc Grange has shown.

The trial looked at the performance of young growing cattle offered two different concentrates, one containing rolled barley and the other citrus pulp.

The aim of the winter-feeding trial was to examine the effects of replacing rolled barley with citrus pulp in a concentrate, on the intake and performance of young growing cattle.

Rolled-barley based concentrate:
  • 862g rolled barley
  • 60g soya bean meal
  • 50g molasses
  • 28g vitamin and minerals/kg

Citrus pulp-based concentrate:
  • 855g citrus pulp
  • 80g soya bean meal
  • 53g molasses
  • 12g vitamins and minerals/kg

Target growth rates

According to Teagasc, the optimum growth rate for weanling cattle which will be turned out and grazed for a second season is 0.5-0.7kg/day over the housed period.

This can be achieved by feeding good quality (70% DMD) grass silage and supplementing it with 1-2kg concentrates each day.

Teagasc research shows that energy is the most important nutrient required by growing cattle and it is available in cereals and a wide variety of feed ingredients used in beef rations.

 Teagasc Trial results

The trial looked at the performance of 120 early and late maturing steer and bull weanlings over a 101 day period, when they were offered silage and either a barley or citrus pulp concentrate.

The cattle were housed in pens in slatted floor sheds and offered grass silage to appetite and 1.6kg dry matter concentrate once daily.

The results of the trial show that there was no difference in the daily grass silage intake, live weight gain, or final live weight between the animals offered the barley concentrate and the citrus pulp concentrate.

And, as a result, the study shows that citrus pulp can replace barley in concentrate supplements for growing cattle without negatively affecting performance.