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The secret ingredient: brewer’s grains

Brewer’s grains, the by-product of beer production, is a great source of food for cattle, both dairy and beef. More and more livestock farmers are turning to brewers grains as a supplementary feed for cattle, and are seeing rises in milk yield in dairy animals, weight gain in beef cattle and general all-round physical well-being across herds.

Generally the grains are served up in conjunction with high quality forage for a lower-cost but top quality feed option.

One farmer who swears by brewer’s grains is dairy farmer Ian Richardson from Cheshire: “They are a cost-effective form of energy and protein which we treat as a blend replacer. You cannot put your finger on it, but brewers grains have that x-factor.

“There is no doubt that when we stop feeding them [brewer’s grains] our milk production reduces.”

Mr Richardson’s the milking herd’s TMR comprises grass, maize and sometimes wholecrop silage, brewers grains, caustic wheat, chopped straw, Trafford syrup and a bespoke blend to balance these ingredients and the forage analysis.

And it is not just the cost that is lowered when farmers source local by-products. There is also an impact on the carbon footprint. “Using co-products has absolutely got to be helping us lower our carbon footprint.

“If we can use ingredients from Manchester, especially those which have already fulfilled a primary use, it has to be better than buying imported feeds,” Mr Richardson adds.