By-product and non-conventional feeds

 Knowledge Nuggets | Fact Sheets | Research Papers

Knowledge Nuggets

  • Cattle have been fed various byproduct and non-conventional feedstuffs for years. They are the “recyclers” of byproduct or alternative feeds.
  • Sources of byproduct feeds include:
    • canola meal and screenings from canola plants,
    • small grains and weed seed screenings from seed cleaning plants,
    • mill run, shorts and tailings from flour mills,
    • brewers grains and distillers wastes from fermentation plants,
    • bakery waste, cull potato chips or french fries from food manufacturing plants
    • whey, waste milk, dairy by-products from dairy plants,
    • pea, bean and lentil screenings from the pulse industry,
    • sawdust and ground aspen chips from the lumber industry,
    • meat meal, blood meal, hydolyzed chicken feathers, rendered offal from slaughter plants,
    • soybean hulls, cotton seed hulls from processing plants,
    • alfalfa fines from alfalfa cubing plants.
  • Diet modifications for non-conventional feeds must be done gradually to allow rumen microorganisms to become accustomed to the new feed stuff. Palatability problems due to taste and smell may also limit the amounts consumed.
  • Cull potatoes and other vegetable byproducts’ contribute energy due to the high starch content similar to feed grains in terms of energy content on a dry matter basis. Because of the high water content of potatoes, rations need to be balanced on an as-fed basis.
  • Sprouted grains can have equivalent value as un-sprouted grains. In some instances, sprouting improves the feeding value by increasing digestibility. Substantial sprouting reduces energy available per unit weight with a slight reduction in feed conversion efficiency.
  • Screenings contain weed seeds. While weeds like wild oats are of good feed value, others may contain anti-nutritional factors that will reduce animal performance. Weed seeds need to be processed into a pellet prior to feeding. Hard small seeds often pass through the digestive tract and will germinate when the manure is spread on the land.
  • There must be an economic advantage to use byproduct or non-conventional feeds. Location of your farm relative to the source of byproducts will have a major influence on costs.
  • Byproducts may be available in a limited geographic area due to transportation costs or concerns with shelf life.
  • Variation in nutritional quality of byproduct or non-conventional feeds is a concern. Quality can change from supplier to supplier, season to season or even from load to load. Feed testing becomes a routine part of managing these feedstuffs.
  • Evaluate the effects of the byproduct or non-conventional feed on the quality of the final livestock product. Off flavors in milk or cheese, lack of marbling in meat, or taste objections by the consumer may cause rejection of your products.
Fact Sheets

Bassica Crops for Hay and Silage (Canola and Mustard)

Cattle Coproduct Optimizer Decision Evaluator (CODE)

Canola Meal Feed Guide - Canola Council of Canada

Corn Gluten Feed - available in PDF format only

Distillers Grains and Soybean Hulls - A Complimentary Combination for Cattle Performance

Effects of Supplementing Beef Cows Grazing Crop Residue with Dried Distiller's Grains - available in PDF format only

Effects of Supplementing Beef Cows Grazing Stockpiled Pasture with Dried Distiller's Grains - available in PDF format only

Evaluating Alternative Feeds Using Petersen's Equations

2005 Feed Composition Tables

Field Pea and Fababean Composition for Dairy Cattle - available in PDF format only

Field Pea Grain for Beef Cattle - available in PDF format only

Feeding Cull Potatoes to Beef Cattle - available in PDF format only

What to Do With Sprouted Grains

Feeding Cull Potatoes to Dairy and Beef Cattle

Feeding Value of Sprouted Grains - available in PDF format only

Feeding Wheat to Beef Cattle - available in PDF format only

Grass Seed Residues for Beef Cattle Feed

Guidelines for Feeding Broiler Litter to Beef Cattle - available in PDF format only

Value and Quality Assurance of Byproduct Feeds

Wheat Middlings: Composition, Feed Value and Storage - available in PDF format only

Wheat Silage for Beef Cattle

Research Papers

Effect of dried distillers’ grain, soybean meal and grain or canola meal and grain-based supplements on forage
intake and digestibility - available in PDF format only

Effects of feeding wheat bran and condensed liquid whey in diets of growing cattle - available in PDF format only

Effects of supplementing spring-calving beef cows grazing barley crop residue with wheat-corn blend dried distillers’ grain plus solubles on animal performance and estimated dry matter intake - available in PDF format only

Evaluation of seal meal as a protein supplement for growing steers

Rumen degradation ratios, available protein and structural and non-structural carbohydrates: Comparison of frost damaged wheat with normal wheat - available in PDF format only

Ruminal Fermentation and Utilization of Unconventional Feeds in Western Canada - available in PDF format only

  For more information about the content of this document, contact Grant Lastiwka.
This information published to the web on March 20, 2003.
Last Reviewed/Revised on March 15, 2017.

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