Grain News

Wheat Middlings for Cattle Feed

Date Posted: August 6, 1998

The following is an article written by James Pritchett, public information officer, Kasas Wheat Commission, discussing research that shows benefits of using wheat middlings as cattle feed.

New research by Kansas State University reveals the benefits of using wheat middlings, a natural by-product of the flour milling process, as cattle feed. Kansas wheat producers through the Kansas Wheat Commission and Kansas flour mills, funded the study to determine the feed value of the product and the best methods of producing, shipping and storing the middlings.

Kansas produces more wheat middlings than any other state due to the large flour milling industry based here. During the wheat milling process, 72-75 % of pre-cleaned wheat becomes flour, and the remaining 25-27 % is available as wheat by-products largely destined for livestock consumption.

Some livestock producers have used wheat middlings during the feeding season. One problem which arose for those producers was storage during summer months. According to a recent survey conducted by K-State Research and Extension, over 30 % of the survey respondents encountered mold spoilage and bridging when attempting to store wheat middlings long-term.

The survey also revealed that survey producer and commercial respondents wanted more information on long-term storage. Researchers conducted studies to determine the best ways to store wheat middlings on-farm and prepared guidelines for avoiding these problems.

The multifaceted study determined the benefits of pelleting wheat middlings for both transportation and storage. Because of their bulk physical properties, wheat middlings are, at the least, inconvenient for flour mills and end-users to transport and store.

In pelleted form, however, the by-product is much easier to handle. Dust and windage losses are virtually eliminated. The bulk density is also greatly increased for better efficiency in storage and shipping. Other factors are also improved through the pelleting process which make middlings an attractive feedstuff for livestock producers.

"Nutritionally, the by-product is really the valuable part of the kernel," said Dale Blasi, who spearheaded the project for K-State. "High protein content makes wheat midds a natural as cattle feed."

Consumption is expected to increase as more millers produce pellets or cubes, making them more convenient to feed. This research is the most extensive ever conducted on wheat middlings, and is viewed with enthusiasm for wheat middlings use.

"People are asking how to cut their production costs," said Blasi. Producers need to look at all avenues to cut costs. In most years, wheat middlings can help cattle producers do just that.

The close proximity of Kansas mills to cattle producers also make wheat middlings a cost effective feedstuff in Kansas, especially at certain times of the year. Armed with new knowledge of the pelleting process and the benefits gained by using midds in this form, cattle producers can take aim at improving their cost efficiency.

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