Animal feed from sugarcane bagasse and trash

and have comparable or enhanced nutritional characteristics relative to existing feed ingredients. Sugar mills burn bagasse to produce heat, steam, and electricity to run their milling operations. Sugarcane trash is left on the paddock. It is possible to feed sugarcane bagasse and trash to animals but this is not done in Australia because they are not very nutritious. The structure and chemistry of the crop residues needs to change to turn bagasse and trash into something that can help an animal grow. This project aims to produce valuable animal feeds from agricultural by-products including bagasse and trash.

Benefits for agriculture

Australian agriculture is set to benefit from the outcomes of the project, with the development of new technologies to enhance the nutritional value of low value crop residues. This will increase the availability and reduce the cost of feed ingredients for animal producers.

Bagasse and trash samples

Benefits for producers

To produce animal feed, biorefineries will need large quantities of crop residues such as sugarcane, bagasse and trash. Farmers will benefit as sources of these raw ingredients. In turn, this will increase employment opportunities as well as stimulate regional economic development by providing a new income stream for crop producers and processors.

More information about this project

Crop by-products like hay have always been used to feed animals but crop by-products like sugarcane bagasse and trash in their nativestate are not very nutritious therefore we don’t use them in animal feed. There is also room to improve the nutritional value of crop byproducts that we do use for animal feed. We develop the processes to turn these crop by-products into higher value feed ingredients like dietary fiber, sugars, and protein.

The aim is to produce animal feed ingredients from crop by-products like sugarcane bagasse and trash. This happens using three different processes;

Dr Mark Harrison with bagasse and trash samples, pretreated bagasse and molasses
  1. Pretreatment to change the structure and chemistry of fibre so that digestibility improves.
  2. Processing to dissolve the sugar polymers in the cell walls and produce a feed syrup with similar properties to molasses.
  3. Solid state and liquid fermentation to produce single cell protein crop by-products and pretreated crop by-products.


  • Development of chemical technology to improve fibre digestibility and produce a potential substitute for molasses
  • Development of microbial technology for production of high-quality feed protein using cheap feedstocks
  • Demonstration of advanced animal feed production at pilot scale
  • Development of a new income stream for producers in the Sugar Industry