Dairy farmers are being urged to consider Brewer’s grains as a viable and cost effective means of supplementing shortfalls in grazing and grass silage.
“Heavy rain and cold temperatures earlier in the year meant that grass forecasts, were not looking good this year,” explained general manager of ForFarmers Dry, Moist and Liquid feeds division, Neil McInnes
“Thankfully, the weather in May has improved, helping to boost grass growth on most farms. However, some farmers are experiencing a shortage of grass and Brewer’s grains would provide them with a cost effective feed to help plug this ‘gap’ in grass provision”.
Due to increased demand we have taken on supply of Brewer’s grains from additional breweries e.g. Cornwall-based Sharp’s Brewery, producer of the UK’s no 1 cask beer, Doom Bar.
We can offer farmers a competitively priced feed material delivered from a local source. Brewer’s grains can be as financially attractive a feed option as grass silage if the farm is located locally to the brewery, comments Mr McInnes.
At around £124/t utilised DM, grass silage has long been one of the lowest cost feeds available, but current prices for larger deliveries of Brewer’s grains now make moist grains a cost effective alternative.
“Farmers can take a bulk order of moist grains now, at good prices, and put in a clamp ready to use later in the year to help supplement grazing and supplies of silage,” continued Mr McInnes.
The relative cost of Brewer’s grains compared to forage sources is even more promising when DM losses during grazing and silage harvesting, transportation, storage and feed out, are all taken into consideration.
“Grazed grass has the highest level of loss at 25% utilised DM compared to 10% for zero-grazing and 17% for conventional silage,” stated Mr McInnes. “These hidden costs, even to grazed grass, are ones that farmers aren’t always aware of and don’t always consider when looking at relative feed costs.”
The nutritional value of Brewer’s grains also compare favourably to grass and provides a consistent feed, taking out much of the variability of grazed grass and silage.
Grazed leafy ryegrass*
80% Brewers grains + 20% DSBP
CP (% DM)
MER (MJ/Kg DM)
NDF (% DM)
“The digestible fibre content of alternatives to forage sources is very important,” continues Neil McInnes. “Whilst the digestible fibre content of brewer’s grains is lower than grass, many of our customers combine it with dried sugar beet pulp or soya hulls, which are good sources of digestible fibre to ensile with the grains.”
At a time of low milk prices and tight margins, brewer’s grains provide dairy farmers with a cost effective alternative to grass.
For more information about Brewer’s grains or Draff and how they could be used to support your dairy business, please telephone ForFarmers DML on on 0870 0500 306 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.