Introduction to the challenge adressed

Every farm with finisher bulls within reach of a brewery can implement this good practice. The draff silage is used as a highly valuable source of protein and should supplement the feed ration. The brewerys normally deliver fresh draff which should be ensilaged right away to make it durable. Otherwise fresh draff can be fed for 2 days maximum.

Description of the Good Practice

The brewer's grains can be fed to finisher bulls at a ratio of 1,5 kg per kg body weight. It shouldn't be more than that, otherwise too much corn silage is replaced by the draff. Brewer's grains is supposed to be a highly valuable protein source and can replace significant amounts of concentrate or soy. It also can have a positive effect on general health of the animals as it contains a lot of B-vitamines and vitamine E. It's important to really calculate the feed ration as draff contains a lot of phosphorus, which can also be important when it comes to bring the manure on the pasture. Rumen fermentation is promoted by feeding brewer's grains and the draff has a high amount of ungraded dietary protein (UDP) so the protein is directly available in the small intestine. Since brewer's grains are very tasty, their use in the ration can have a positive effect on feed intake. Together with the high UDP content, higher daily gains can be achieved.

Impact on farm performance

In Germany, the call for GMO-free feeding is getting louder and louder. With the use of brewer's grains, the use of soya extraction meal can be reduced or even replaced, making brewer's grains a good alternative as protein feed.

Draff is much cheaper than any concentrate or even soy so the usage of brewer's grains saves feeding costs. Additionally higher daily gains can be achieved. A brewery not too far away is required. 

The high amount of phosphorus, many B-vitamines and Vitamine E has a positive impact on the general health of the animals. Additionally the rumen fermentation is promoted which has a positive effect on healthy digestion.

The use of spent grain is extremely sustainable, as it is a waste product of breweries. It does not have to be specially produced as animal feed, but is produced anyway and would otherwise probably be disposed of.

A contract with the corresponding brewery has to be made and amounts and frequency of delivery have to be agreed on. A place for ensilaging should be available. The feeding ration should be calculated and monitored freshly with every new delivery.

Farmer comment

The great advantage is the feeding of a valuable protein feed which is also economically very interesting. 

It is important to have the high amount of phosphorus in mind, especially when it comes to fertilize the pasture with manure.