New Research Examines The Use Of Whole Cottonseed, Cotton Gin Trash In Feedlot Diets

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Whole cottonseed and cotton gin byproduct found to be effective without a decline in performance

CARY, N.C. (June 24, 2020)A recent study found cotton byproducts, including whole cottonseed and cotton gin trash are an effective source of fiber, fat and protein in feedlot rations without adverse effects on performance or carcass characteristics.

“Cotton gin byproduct and whole cottonseed are not new to feedlots in cotton-growing regions,” said Tom Wedegaertner, director of cottonseed research, Cotton Incorporated. “Producers now have the data to show cotton byproducts perform in feedlot rations.”

Whole cottonseed is a triple-nutrient feed ingredient, providing effective fiber, available fat and protein.1 Due to its unique nutrient composition, whole cottonseed is common in dairy rations. Even with competition with other feedstuffs, whole cottonseed can be economically beneficial in feedlots, reducing the need for traditional roughages and additional protein and fat supplementation.3

“Currently, cotton production hasn’t seen any interruptions, and we’re expecting to have a normal crop,” said Wedegaertner. “There will be an ample supply of cotton byproducts for dairies, oil mills and feedlots.”

Increased cotton production in the southwestern United States has increased the availability of cotton byproducts for use in cattle diets, he added. With current disruptions in feed ingredient availability for feedlots, cotton gin byproducts are an available and suitable alternative for producers.

“The majority of the whole cottonseed supply goes to dairy rations but, as acres increase, more beef producers have more opportunities to use the feed ingredient on their operations.”

Cotton Incorporated suggests producers get in touch with their cottonseed merchant or feed dealer to check prices or submit a request for cottonseed quotes through its Cottonseed Marketplace.

Cottonseed is an excellent source of fiber, protein and energy. Typical rations can include up to 15% cottonseed on a dry matter basis.2 For more information, including reports on market conditions, feeding information and a list of suppliers, visit

Cotton Incorporated, funded by U.S. growers of upland cotton and importers of cotton and cotton textile products, is the research and marketing company representing upland cotton. The program is designed and operated to improve the demand for and profitability of cotton.

1Warner, A. L., Beck, P. A., Foote, A. P., Pierce, K. N., Robison, C. A., Hubbell, D. S., & Wilson, B. K. (2020). Effects of utilizing cotton byproducts in a finishing diet on beef cattle performance, carcass traits, fecal characteristics, and plasma metabolites. Journal of Animal Science98(2). doi: 10.1093/jas/skaa038

2Coppock, C., West, J., Moya, J., Nave, D., Labore, J., Thompson, K., … Gates, C. (1985). Effects of Amount of Whole Cottonseed on Intake, Digestibility, and Physiological Responses of Dairy Cows. Journal of Dairy Science68(9), 2248–2258. doi: 10.3168/jds.s0022-0302(85)81097-3

3Cranston, J. J., J. D. Rivera, M. L. Galyean, M. M. Brashears, J. C. Brooks, C. E. Markham, L. J. McBeth, and C. R. Krehbiel. 2006. Effects of feeding whole cottonseed and cottonseed products on performance and carcass characteristics of finishing beef cattle. J. Anim. Sci. 84:2186–2199. doi:10.2527/ jas.2005-669

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