Research shows distillers grains, soy hulls cost-effective for sheep

“Soy hulls and dried distillers grain can be part of a cost-effective ration for sheep,” a South Dakota State University specialist said. SDSU Extension Sheep Specialist Jeff Held said that SDSU research in past years has compared soy hulls and dried distillers grain against a ration of corn and dried distillers grain.

“We fed lambs for 60 days and finished those lambs post-weaning to a weight of approximately 130 pounds,” Held said. “The soy hulls and dried distillers grain, which was in a mix by form, brought together a ration that supported growth at eight-tenths of a pound a day, which is very much target for what we expected for the genotype. It was similar growth performance to what we found with cracked corn and dried distiller grain in a mixed format as well.”

Held noted that dried distillers grain and soy hulls both are high-fiber feedstuffs that are very low in starch. That means there is less potential for acidosis, which can be a problem for sheep under some conditions. There’s clearly less waste with the soy hull/distillers grains diet.

“With the soy hulls-based ration, we noticed that there was considerable less residual or waste that we needed to remove from the self-feeding delivery that we had on these finishing lambs. In fact, compared to the cracked cornbased ration, there was 40 percent less waste.”

It’s also evident that sheep like the feed. “The intake of the soy hull-based ration was about a percent of body weight higher. That would be comparable to what is noticed in other feeding trials with lambs as well as cattle. It’s certainly an indication of high palatability,” Held said.

The SDSU experiment used soybean hulls and dried distillers grains as the sole energy, protein, and fiber sources. “We look forward to the time when we can take soy hulls and dried distillers grain and bring those together in a complete pellet, a complete feedstuff. We think that the combination of soy hulls and dried distillers grains offers us a very nice package of nutrients.”

For more details on sheep diet information, consult SDSU Extension Extra 2052, “Feeding Soy Hulls and Dried Distillers Grain with Solubles to Sheep.” It’s available online at this link: . pdf. Or refer to SDSU Extension Extra 2053, “Using DDGS in Mixed Lamb Diets.” You can find it online, located on the Web at .