Why feed Brewers Grains?

It is often asked, especially at this time of year when our paddocks full of good green pasture as to why you should feed a protein rich feed like Castlegate James (CJA) Brewers Grains?

Simply, it is all about maximising feed quality and performance.

Brewers Grains is one of the world’s oldest and most trusted co-product feeds for livestock. It is used in all segments of cattle production because it has highly digestible protein and energy source. Castlegate James has been Australia’s leading Brewers Grains supplier since 1923.

Castlegate James Brewers Grains begin with high quality malted barley going through the mashing process in beer production. First, the barley is converted by specialist maltsters into malted barley by soaking it in water to trigger the grain germination process.

This germination starts the process inside the grain of converting the starches into fermentable sugars, which later become alcohol.

During germination, the barley grain also produces a small sprout known as a Malt Culm, which is a very high source of protein (around 26%). The sprout is removed from the malted grain and this product is also available from CJA. The malted barley then goes to the breweries and the magic begins when it is added to water, yeast, hops then heated and fermented. Before you know it, the end result is the magnificent beverage we know as beer. Did you know the colour in beer comes from the malted barley?

Through this brewing process the Brewers Grains are created. After gently pressing to remove all excess beer, the remaining moist grain is separated and loaded into silos where CJA trucks are ready and waiting to collect it. Sometimes brewers grains can be dryer or higher in moisture depending on the beer product being made at the brewery.

This entire process operates under strict quality controls and the collected grains are then delivered to farmers as a highly palatable quality stock feed, delivering some positive feeding benefits when used in a ration.

Unlike pasture, Castlegate James Brewers Grains are extremely high in digestible fibre and available energy and proteins, but most importantly they are high in Rumen Undegradable Proteins (RUPs). These RUPs are effectively by-pass proteins, so unlike a standard protein that is derived from pasture and needs to be broken down in the cow’s rumen, Brewers Grain is able to pass to the abomasum where it can be directly and efficiently absorbed as a protein, without any risks of protein overload or requirement of the animal to use valuable energy to break it down. This by-pass protein goes directly into milk production in the case of Dairy herds or weight gain in beef cattle.

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As the starches have been converted to sugars, any risk of acidosis is effectively removed so feeding levels can be increased up to around 40% of diet if required. This means the animals are receiving a valuable protein and energy source, as well as a blend of vitamins, minerals, essential and non-essential amino acids.

The benefits of Castlegate James Brewers Grains at this time of year are twofold:

  1. If you have a beef cow and she has a calf at foot, the addition of Brewers Grains to a pasture based system will drive up milk production and calf growth rates can potentially increase. The extra feed results in less energy being used by the cow to convert pasture into milk and as a result, she will put on more body condition. This in turn gives her a much greater opportunity to get back in calf for the following season.
  2. In a Dairy environment while excess pasture is a welcome benefit currently, feed quality is always a concern. The addition of Castlegate James Brewers Grains not only provides cows with safe, high-quality feed which can lead to higher productivity, but it also offers producers the ability to harvest more pasture and ensile it for the drier months ahead. Brewers Grains can also be ensiled as a straight product, or added to pasture silage to improve overall performance value, further future proofing your feed position for the drier summer months.

You should consider the benefits of Castlegate James Brewers Grains as a part of your supplementary feeding program in Dairy or Beef cattle.

Our representatives are ready to offer advice on feeding options, competitive pricing and availability in your area now. Please call 1300 786 253.

Greg Pillar

Group General Manager - Sales
Australia and New Zealand


  • Published: 11/11/20
  • Author: Greg Pillar Castlegate James
  • © Castlegate James