The autumn issue of Ground Cover reported that laboratory testing of grain damaged in last year's shock frost suggested it was just as good as undamaged grain for feeding stock, but warned that the proof would be in the eating.
Sheep at Wagga's Animal Nutrition Unit have now confirmed the laboratory finding. The sheep were fed grain as a normal mixed ration with lucerne chaff. Scientists found the frosted and unfrosted grain had virtually the same nutritive value.
They measured digestibility and found it varied only from 82.7 per cent for the unfrosted sample to 80.4 per cent for the severely frosted grain. Estimates of metabolisable energy varied from 13.0 megajoules per kilogram for the unfrosted grain to 12.6 megajoules for the severely frosted grain.
"Based on these results, we believe that, compared to unfrosted wheat, there is no major penalty when feeding frosted grain to sheep and cattle, when the frosted component comprises up to 80 per cent," said NSW Agriculture researcher Emma Richardson.
"A possible issue for cattle producers is that they may have to make adjustments to their milling equipment to ensure the frosted grain is adequately processed."
OK for pigs, too
NSW Agriculture Livestock Officer (Pigs) Chris Brewster fed frosted grain to pigs and found that although they grew more slowly than those on a normal wheat diet, the growth differences were not large.
He urged pig growers to carefully compare prices of different feed ingredients and speak to an experienced livestock nutritionist.
"The feed cost per kilogram of pig growth was 31.4 cents for the frosted wheat-based diet compared to over 36 cents for the normal wheat-based diet," Mr Brewster said.
Ms Emma Richardson 02 6938 1999 or Mr Chris Brewster 02 6938 1900
National, North, South, West