November 30, 2000 | By: Laura Skillman

Byproduct feeds such as soyhulls and dry corn gluten can replace more expensive feed ingredients in feeding postweaned calves, according to University of Kentucky beef specialists.

Four trials and one demonstration involving 283 weaned calves studied the effects of various alternative feeds, and researchers found that calves can make rapid and efficient gains during short postweaning feeding periods.

The research also found that soyhulls and corn gluten feed worked better than other alternatives.

"Some high fiber byproduct feed can be excellent substitutes for corn in high forage diets. Depression of forage digestibility, sometimes seen with high starch supplements, is minimized with these high fiber supplements," said Roy Burris, UK Extension beef specialist at the UK Research and Education Center in Princeton.

Some byproduct feeds are high in fiber, but the fiber is highly digestible. Highly digestible fiber sources can give performances similar to, or greater than, starch-type supplements such as corn, he said.

The soyhulls are also palatable to calves and less likely to cause founder or acidosis than grains. When available at prices competitive with corn, these products can be excellent feeds to use when forage utilization is a priority, Burris said.

Soyhulls are the seed coats on soybeans left from the processing of soybean meal. Corn gluten is a byproduct of the wet milling process.

Farmers across Kentucky, and particularly in western Kentucky, are feeding more and more soyhulls Burris said. The hulls fed with forage are a good source of feed for cattle while saving farmers money, he said.

"Some cattlemen in this area of the state are feeding more than 100 tons of soyhulls in their operations," he said.

The key to successful use of the byproduct feed is to ensure that it contains 13 percent protein to provide the needed protein for the calves development. It may require mixing of products such as a combination of soyhulls and corn gluten to attain that level.


Roy Burris, (270) 365-7541