What is Tapioca?
Tapioca pellets are a high-starch feed ingredient produced from the roots of the tapioca, manioc, or cassava plant. Tapioca is a tropical perennial root crop, which is widely grown is Southeast Asia, Africa and Central America.
After harvest, the roots of the plant are sliced into chips and dried in the sun. Subsequently, the chips are pelleted (8mm) and are mainly utilized for the production of starch for human food and industrial uses, and stockfeed applications.
Thailand is world leader in tapioca product exports for stockfeed with the European Union as their biggest market. Because it is a starch-rich feed, tapioca is used as a substitute for cereals in practically all livestock rations. Tapioca pellets, which recently have been introduced in New Zealand, can have valuable potential as a supplement in pasture based dairy cattle rations.
Features and benefits:
- Tapioca pellets are a starch rich supplement and provide fast fermentable rumen available energy.
- Highly available energy from tapioca pellets can be utilized to ‘capture’ rapidly degradable protein concentrations from pasture into microbial protein which can be utilized for milk protein production.
- Starch from tapioca pellets provides fuel for propionate producing bacteria driving milk yield, cow condition and reproductive performance.
- Tapioca pellets are palatable and stimulate total dry matter intake.
- Tapioca pellets are best fed in conjunction with moderate and slow fermentable carbohydrates to prevent acidosis issues and to provide consistent ruminal fermentation over time.
Like all feedstuffs, tapioca pellets should be stored dry, in bulk bins or placed on cement slabs (away from vermin and covered and protected from the weather accordingly).
Tapioca pellets are not suitable for ad lib feeding as they put the cow at risk of ruminal acidosis. Total dietary levels of starch and soluble sugars, NDF and effective fibre should be monitored when feeding tapioca pellets. Inclusion levels of around 20% of total dry matter intake are possible. Introduce tapioca pellets gradually to allow the rumen to adapt accordingly. Splitting the daily allowance over two feeds will further reduce the risk of rumen disorders. When feeding out, prevent individual animals to gorge rapidly on tapioca pellets. To control maximum intake levels of rapidly fermentable carbohydrate sources like tapioca pellets, it is most optimal to supply pre-blended mixtures. Consult your nutritionist or farm consultant to work out the most optimal inclusion level for your particular situation.
Suggested maximum inclusion levels In total rations for other species:
|Animal Species||Max. inclusion level (%)|
Typical nutritional analysis:
|Crude fibre||4.2 %|