Byproduct Feeds and Precision Feeding

Byproduct feeds are a main staple of the diet for all animal groups on a dairy operation. The key is finding a supplier that provides a consistent product.
Byproduct Feeds and Precision Feeding - Articles


Production perspective

There is some bias in the feed industry about certain byproducts versus others. For example, in the past bakery products have not been looked on very favorably because of the potential inconsistency in nutrient content. In my experience using cookie meal and candy meal, these have been some of the most consistent byproducts used in dairy rations at Penn State.

There was never an issue maintaining precision feeding, especially with protein and phosphorus levels in addition to the starch and fat content. Compare this to other more commonly used byproducts such as wheat midds, corn gluten feed, distillers and blood meal to name a few.

Using Dairy One Forage Testing Lab's composition table, the potential variability of those ingredients, especially related to protein and phosphorus can be fairly significant. Feed companies have a connection with their suppliers and conduct routine testing of commodities brought to the mill.

The same procedure should hold for producers purchasing commodities. The saying that "the cheap can turn out expensive" is very true. The point is cost should not be the sole factor alone that determines where a commodity gets purchased. There is a price for a consistent quality byproduct. If cows are performing well and receiving a consistent ration, there is a price associated with that - milk income. That is why monitoring income over feed cost is so important. That is the true barometer if cows are on track, not focusing on the unit price per ton of a mix or commodity. Also, with the 2015 Class III milk price projected around or below $16/cwt, monitoring margins will be critical.

Action plan for monitoring byproduct feeds (or grain mixes)

Goal - Collect a sample of the lactating grain mix or commodity at every delivery and place in the freezer. Send sample out for a complete analysis if cows do not perform as expected. Send commodity samples for a complete analysis at least two times per year as a check. Include starch, sugar and fat.

Step 1: In a half gallon zip lock bag, collect a sample of the grain mix or commodity. Record the sample name and date received.

Step 2: Place sample in the freezer and store for the duration of it being fed.

Step 3: If animal performance is suspect (milk production, components, dry matter intake) during the time a grain mix or commodity is being fed, send to the lab for a complete analysis.

Step 4: At a minimum, have a grain mix or commodity tested two times per year to confirm nutrient content.

As a supplement to this article, additional tables are available at the end of this article showing the average analyses for several byproduct feeds and their costs throughout 2014.

Economic perspective

Monitoring an economic component is necessary to determine if a management strategy is working or not. For the lactating cows income over feed costs is a good way to check that feed costs are in line for the level of milk production. Starting with July's milk price, income over feed costs will be calculated using average intakes and production for the last six years from the Penn State dairy herd. The ration will contain 63% forage consisting of corn silage, haylage and hay. The concentrate portion will include corn grain, candy meal, sugar, canola meal, roasted soybeans, Optigen and a mineral vitamin mix. All market prices will be used. Also included are the feed costs for dry cows, springing heifers, pregnant heifers and growing heifers. The rations reflect what has been fed to these animal groups at the Penn State dairy herd for the past 6 years. All market prices will be used.

Standardized IOFC starting July 2014

Note: December's Penn State milk price: $22.67/cwt; feed cost/cow: $6.52; average milk production: 82.0 lbs.

Standardized feed cost/non-lactating animal/day starting July 2014

Feed costs/milk income per cow (%) starting July 2014

MonthFeed costs/milk income per cow (%)

Supplemental Tables:

Average analyses for several byproduct feeds and their costs throughout 2014.

Partial Analyses of Selected Byproduct Feeds Fed to Cattle

High Energy ByproductsDry Matter %Crude protein %Neutral detergent fiberStarch %Sugar %Fat %
Beet pulp91.79.341.
Citrus pulp87.7724.41.8202.7
Corn bran91.312.737.528.44.58.4
Grape pomace90.613.652.21.63.69
Snack food93.18.712.140.75.722.9
Wheat midds90.118.437.624.94.95.3
High Protein ByproductsDry Matter %Crude protein %Neutral detergent fiberStarch %Sugar %Fat %
Brewers grain92.925.651.
Canola meal90.939.930.
Corn gluten feed89.223.936.
Corn gluten meal90.867.
Distillers grain88.331.434.
Malt sprouts92.223.842.
Peanut meal93.944.3227.5109.4
Soybean meal90.351.213.51.610.54.4
Soybean cooked9342.
Sunflower meal92.432.341.51.16.510.9

Source: Dairy One Analytical Service. 2014. Feed Composition Library.

Price/Ton for Selected Byproduct Feeds

Feed NameJ-14F-14M-14A-14M-14J-14J-14A-14S-14O-14N-14D-14Avg
Apple pomace$52$55$53$55$61$61$53$55$52$56$57$60$56
Bakery Product$137$142$154$166$167$160$145$125$119$113$116$123$139
Beet pulp$300$300$300$300$300$300$300$300$290$270$250$250$288
Candy Product$171$178$192$207$208$200$181$156$149$141$145$154$174
Canola meal$433$428$460$487$477$432$328$301$369$322$357$358$396
Citrus pulp, dry$240$240$265$265$265$275$340$272$280$280$220$267
Corn Distillers DK$281$267$314$326$305$279$231$165$190$176$157$193$240
Corn Distillers LT$255$243$285$296$278$254$210$150$173$160$143$175$218
Corn glu Feed$216$203$222$214$217$196$179$158$172$161$169$187$191
Corn glu Meal 60%$712$719$806$836$852$815$692$659$716$648$674$698$735
Corn, ear,dry$124$124$143$145$148$142$126$114$121$96$108$123$126
Corn, shelled$157$163$175$188$189$182$166$144$137$131$134$142$159
Cottonseed Whole$397$396$467$493$498$507$477$455$452$315$288$308$421
Malt sprouts$220$215$210$210$210$210$210$205$205$200$200$200$208
Molasses, Dried$235$235$235$235$260$215$240$220$240$228$228$218$232
Molasses, Liquid$199$199$199$199$199$172$192$176$192$182$182$174$188
Soybean meal 48$521$525$538$554$573$572$533$494$651$407$481$489$528
Soybeans Cooked$463$476$502$519$535$553$499$473$387$371$403$403$465
Soybeans Raw$420$433$458$475$491$510$456$430$313$298$329$330$412
Sunflower seed meal$315$315$305$300$320$290$230$185$160$190$220$265$258
Wheat midds$224$193$201$210$216$188$163$146$151$153$156$167$180

Source: Ishler, V. 2014. Monthly feed price list.