Use of factory tea waste (FTW) and coconut water as a low cost dairy feed supplement


Factory tea waste (FTW) is an abundant agro-industrial by-product in Sri Lanka and it is rich in essential amino acids and minerals. However, high levels of tannins and low palatability limit its usage as an animal feed. Therefore, utilization of the FTW as a protein supplement for dairy cows is explored in this innovative project.

This project targets the smallholder dairy farms of the area, which have cows yielding 10-20 L per day. We believe that new feed could be used as a protein supplement replacing the coconut cake or rice bran partly or completely thereby reducing the feed cost.



We investigated ensiling of FTW with coconut water and molasses as an additive, in order to reduce the level of tannins. The benefits of using coconut water are two fold. It provides both easily fermentable carbohydrates as sugars and moisture for the ensiling process.

FTW was obtained from a local tea factory and coconut water was collected from the university cafetaria.  20 Kg of FTW were  sprinkled with 10 L of coconut water and packed into polyethylene bags and tied with strings after removing air by manual pressing. Another 20kg of FTW was mixed with 3.5% of molasses and packed as above. These bags were stored at ambient temperature for 21 days and protected against vermin attacks.  Proximate and mineral compositions of the FTW and 2 ensiled FTW products were determined at the Veterinary Research institute of Sri Lanka. Tannin contents were measured at the DUVASU, Matura, India.



Both ensiled FTW products had a comparable chemical composition to rice bran No.1 and contained high levels of macro and trace minerals. Also the process of ensiling increased the level of crude protein and decreased the amount of tannins in the FTW.

These results show FTW as a potential cheap substitute for currently used expensive supplements in the cow’s ration. Coconut water would be the best additive to be used in the smallholder farms as this is readily available as a kitchen waste at no cost.