Bio-fuels to beef up feed

By-products from domestic biofuels could help beef up livestock feed in the future, according to a study completed by ADAS UK.

Rising animal feed costs - partly driven by the demand for biofuels - have caused alarm in the meat production industry recently. The study, funded by the Home-Grown Cereals Authority (HGCA), BPEX and EBLEX, looks at the possibility that co-products from both biodiesel and bioethanol could be used to feed livestock.

Report author Dr Bruce Cottrill said: "It is estimated that, by 2010, there will be an additional 150,000 tonnes of rapeseed meal (RSM) and 10,000 tonnes of glycerol from UK crushed oilseed rape.

"Predicting wheat distillers' dried grains with solubles (DDGS) is more difficult but, based on current planned production, some 940,000 tonnes may be available for use as animal feed.

"Based on current estimates of production, it seems likely the livestock industry could absorb all the additional RSM and glycerol produced and they would replace imported feed."

So far, there has been little work done on the amount of DDGS derived from wheat that can be used in feed, and more work is needed on this. It is expected that the benefits of biofuel to livestock farmers will be heavily dependent on the price charged for the co-products.

BPEX chief executive Mick Sloyan said: "The amount will fluctuate as the biofuel market matures but this is undoubtedly an opportunity for the British pig industry and manufacturers will be including significant amounts of these in diets."

EBLEX chief executive Richard Ali said: "What shines through in this report are the linkages between energy and agricultural policy and I have no doubt that the livestock sector will become increasingly active in analysing the effects of proposed changes in those regimes."