With high grain and hay prices and dried-up pastures, many producers are wondering what else they can feed their sheep and goats without compromising the health and welfare of their animals or depleting their wallets.
Soyhulls are an alternative feed source that many producers may wish to consider. Soyhulls are a by-product of soybean processing. They are the seed coat (not the pod) of the bean.
Because they are a processed product, the nutrient composition of soyhulls varies; however, on average, they contain 77 percent TDN (energy) and 12 percent CP (protein). They are a good source of calcium and a moderate source of phosphorus. Soyhulls contain more copper than conventional feed sources: 17 ppm vs. 8-12 ppm. Copper toxicity tends to be a risk (with sheep) when the total ration exceeds 25 ppm.
When used as an energy supplement, soyhulls can substitute pound for pound with corn and barley. Because of their unique physical characteristics, soyhulls can also safely replace a portion (up to 50%) of the forage in the diet. One pound of soyhulls would replace 1.4 pounds of forage.
Pricing all feeds on a cost per pound of TDN basis will help identify whether soyhulls fit into feeding programs for sheep and goats.
Using soyhulls in livestock and dairy rations
Fibrous feed alternative: soybean hulls
Feeding Soyhulls and Dried Distillers Grain with Solubles to Sheep