Traditionally, BSG is mainly used as cattle feed.
It should be considered as a lower cost, rich in protein, lipids and fiber supplement, not a complete feed replacement.
How does it taste? Majority of the sweetness of beer has been drained and rinsed from the grain, but a small amount remains (which the animals love!) More importantly, it’s far less starchy materials than unmalted, unconverted grain like raw barley, corn or oats.
In general, you should consider replacing upto 20% of current feed with BSG – it has minimal caloric value suitable for non-high energy ruminants:
Dr. Jack Britt, an agricultural scientist associated with North Carolina State University, has an excellent presentation for farmers considering spent grains covering storage and feeding rates.
Spent grain contains a lot of minor components that are nutritionally important, including essential amino acids and non-essential amino acids. When supplemented with an outside nitrogen source (such as urea), brewery spent grains can provide all the amino acids cattle require.
Spent grains also contain a wealth of vitamins and minerals. Cattle require more calcium than spent grains supply, so some supplemental calcium is required if spent grains are used as a significant proportion of the cattle’s feed. If not supplemented, the growth rate could be slowed.
Brewery spent grains contain 71 to 75 percent total digestible nutrients (TDN). For comparison, corn feed yields 88 to 90 percent TDN = an attractive source of nutrition for livestock producers + low cost
For cattle, the University of Florida recommends 30 to 50 pounds (wet weight) spent grains per day, and 20 pounds (wet weight) per day maximum for calves. This corresponds to 8 to 13 pounds per day dry weight for cattle and 2 to 5 pounds dry weight per day for calves. A study in which various proportions of spent grains to regular feed were compared found that 15 to 30 percent of the diet being spent grains led to the fastest weight gain.
Watch this video on the town of Brookhaven’s innovative diverting of spent grains from landfill and re-distribution to participating businesses program.