Barley Malt Feeds for Growing Beef Calves

 

Vern Anderson, and Nicole Wolkenhauer,

NDSU Carrington Research Extension Center

 

 

Introduction

The period after weaning is an extremely stressful time in the life of beef calves.  Often, cattlemen who want to feed their calves do so with limited facilities and equipment, relying on self feeders for concentrates and forages.  This management method necessitates a safe yet nutritious concentrate source that will provide adequate performance.  Co-product feeds are typically high in fiber and low in starch with some variation in protein content.  Barley malt, the residue from malting barley is one product that potentially can be used in this role.  This project was undertaken to explore performance differences when a nutrient dense additive package was included in the pelleting of barley malt pellets at the sight of manufacturing.   The project measured the feed intake of concentrate and hay, gain, feed efficiency, and cost of gain for growing calves.  A finishing component is still in progress at this writing. 

 

Methodology 

Preconditioned Angus crossbred beef steer calves (n=48) raised at the Central Grasslands Research Center and backgrounded at the Hettinger Research Extension Center were delivered to the Carrington Research Extension Center in mid January, 2003.   Calves were individually weighed after a warm up diet of mixed barley malt pellets at the start of the trial and allotted randomly to one of six pens with three pens per treatment.  Treatments were: 1) Control, conventional pelleted barley malt feed; 2) Barley malt feed supplemented with a proprietary additive package.   The additive package was a liquid included at 7 percent of the dry malt product prior to pelleting.  Nutrients in the additive included soluble protein, fat, and minerals.  Table 1 provides a comparison of nutrients in the two barley malt products.  The two barley malt feeds were fed to appetite daily in fenceline bunks.  An ionophore-mineral supplement was fed topdressed on the barley malt feeds.  Low quality grass hay was offered in large round bale ring feeders inside each pen.  Bales were weighed when fed and an estimate of wasted hay made when the next bale was added.  Calves were weighed at 28 day intervals with the growing trial extending over two weigh periods or 56 days.   Economic impact of feeding barley malt feeds was compared using feed intake, gain, and feed efficiency.  Feed costs are best estimates of long term commercial prices for conventional barley malt and the additional cost of the additive. 

 

Results and Discussion

There was very little difference in the nutritional value of the two formulations (Table 1).  A reduction in ADF from 40.06 percent to 32.37 percent and an increase in fat content from 1.88 to 2.92 percent for the additive formulation were the only apparent differences.  Calves in this study consumed 109 percent of the predicted intake suggesting that this feed is highly palatable.  There was very little difference in intake of the two feeds (Table 2).  Hay intake measurement was not precise as wasted hay was estimated.  Calves on the control malt product gained faster (P<.05) during the first weigh period and tended to gain faster over the entire growing period (P=.11).  Average daily gains for the control group were .46 and .12 lb/hd more than the additive product for respective treatment periods. The daily intake increased from the first 28-day feeding period to the second 28-day period.  Feed efficiency was not different for the two feeds.  Feed costs on a daily basis and per pound of gain favored the control product.  Feed costs observed suggest that offering barley malt pellets in a self feeder with free choice hay would be a very practical and cost competitive feeding system for ranchers to add pounds to their calves. 


Table 1.  Nutrient analysis of the two barley malt formulations*.

Item

Control Barley Malt

Barley Malt with Additive

Dry matter, %

90.60

88.04

Crude protein, %

19.04

19.25

Acid detergent fiber, %

16.27

14.27

Neutral detergent fiber, %

40.60

32.37

Ash, %

5.52

5.31

Fat, %

1.88

2.92

Calcium, %

.14

.15

Phosphorous, %

.51

.52

* average of 3 separate laboratory analysis of the two products used in this study.

The addition of the correct amount and proper mixing of an ionophore supplement to the pelleted mix is critical to optimum performance.  Adding minerals with high levels of calcium will provide the correct ratio (1.5 to 2.0 parts calcium to 1 part phosphorous) to avoid waterbelly.  Some ionophore products may contain high levels of calcium or special formulations can be manufactured. 

 

 

Table 2.  Performance of growing beef calves fed two different barley malt formulations free choice

Item

Control

Barley Malt

Additive

Barley Malt

 

Std Err

 

P Value

Period 1- dry matter intake, lb/hd/day

     Barley Malt

     Hay

     Total

 

17.43

5.06

22.49

 

17.14

5.71

22.85

 

.15

.42

.46

 

.24

.33

.62

Period 2- dry matter intake, lb/hd/day

     Barley Malt

     Hay

     Total

 

19.61

5.22

25.12

 

19.52

4.57

24.09

 

.21

.77

.77

 

.80

.43

.40

Overall - dry matter intake, lb/hd/day

     Barley Malt

      Hay

     Total

 

18.51

5.29

23.81

 

18.33

5.14

23.47

 

.14

.45

.48

 

.40

.83

.65

Average daily gain, lb

     Period 1

     Period 2

     Overall

 

3.22

2.81

3.01

 

2.76

2.69

2.73

 

.15

.15

.12

 

.04

.59

.11

Average gain/feed

     Period 1

     Period 2

     Overall

 

.13

.11

.12

 

.14

.12

.13

 

.01

.01

.01

 

.67

.42

.51

Feed cost/hd/day*, $

     Period 1

     Period 2

     Overall

 

.594

.665

.630

 

.663

.728

.700

 

-

-

-

 

-

-

-

Feed cost/lb gain*, $

     Period 1

     Period 2

     Overall

 

.181

.237

.209

 

.240

.271

.256

 

-

-

-

 

-

-

-

* Based on feed cost of $60/ton for control barley malt, $68 per ton for additive barley malt, and $28 per ton for grass hay.

Barley Malt Co-Product

Barley malt feed consists of thin and light kernels of barley screened off prior to the malting process and spent and dried barley malt sprouts.  The pelleted feed is widely used in beef cow/calf and feedlot diets and respected as a safe and palatable feedstuff.  This feed contains high levels of fiber and offers modest amounts of protein for calves or cows.  Barley malt is marketed in competition to wheat middlings or midds in the Northern Plains.  In a trial using corn based diets, barley malt fed steers gained 3.09 lb/day vs. 3.43 lbs for calves fed wheat midds.  Increasing the percentage of sprouts in the barley malt feed improved steer performance.  Sprouts at 50 percent of the barley malt formulation produced gains .62 per day less than wheat midds, 60 percent sprouts were .30 lbs per day less and 80 percent sprouts were .10 lb less than wheat midds.  The major difference is thought to be the variation in available energy.  Wheat midds contain the germ of the kernel and some starch.  Considering the digestible fiber in midds, fat, and starch, the TDN value is estimated at about 80 percent compared to 77 percent for barley malt.  

Barley malt has been observed to be highly palatable for young calves.  However, the energy density is less than required for small calves so a formulation with barley malt should contain more nutrient dense grains such as corn or peas.  Some commercial supplements are available to add to co-products such as barley malt to make a balanced and productive calf starter or creep feed. 

 

Literature Cited

Anderson, V.L. and E. J. Bock. 2000.  Malting barley co-products or wheat midds in corn based diets for growing yearling steers.  Carrington Research Extension Center Beef Production Field Day Proceedings, Vol. 23:20-21

 

Appreciation is expressed to Cargill Malt for support of this project.