Cut feed costs with surplus spuds
In recent weeks, I have received numerous phone calls about the use of potatoes for feeding housed cattle. The inquiries ranged from the need to feed them straight, to ensiling potatoes with grass silage and storing them separately for the coming winter.
Beef farmers should not ignore the many merits of feeding potatoes.
When fed in the correct quantity and manner, they provide an excellent feed which will improve beef animal performance and carcass quality.
Potatoes are also an excellent source of energy, which is readily available to the ruminant animal and easily processed.
Last year was a bumper year for potato production, but a decrease in human consumption has left growers with stocks of potatoes in stores that must be cleared out for the new season's crop. Export markets for potatoes are limited, so the only option for many producers is to sell them for animal feed.
When valuing potatoes compared to other feeds, beef farmers should take into account factors such as potato variety, cleanliness, haulage distance and the type of animals being fed.
Potatoes are generally trading at €25-40/t, including delivery, and the higher dry-matter varieties such as Roosters and Pinks should command €5/t above the 'white' varieties.
Traditionally, animal or stock feed potatoes became available around this time, just before the new season's potatoes.