Cotton bolls ready for harvest

  • Whole Cottonseed derives from the cotton plant.   The seed from cotton has been used as a feed ingredient in farm animal diets for over 150 years, providing a natural source of protein, fibre and energy.

  • Whole Cottonseed offers a good source of protected fat, and in practice represents a superb dairy feed particularly suited to high yielding cattle.

  • The cottonseed which remains after the cotton is ginned is used to produce cottonseed oil, which, after refining, can be consumed by humans like any other vegetable oil. The cottonseed meal that is left generally is fed to ruminant livestock; the gossypol remaining in the meal is toxic to monogastric animals. 

Cottonseed Hulls

Cottonseed hulls

  • Cottonseed hulls can be added to dairy cattle rations for roughage. 

  • Cottonseed hulls mix well with other ingredients and don't require grinding, so are often fed at cattle feedlots and on dairy farms. They are sometimes made into pellets for easier handling.

  • Cottonseed hulls are used mostly in the southern area of the U.S.  They are low in protein, calcium, phosphorus and energy and high in fiber. Cottonseed hulls are palatable and are used as a roughage for cattle, especially in areas where good quality forages are scarce. They occasionally are included in grain mixes to increase the bulk density and crude fiber contents. 

  • They can be helpful in supporting fat test in low fibre or low roughage rations. 

Cottonseed Meal

cotton seed meal

  • Cottonseed meal is often processed into pellets or "cake". 

  • Other than soybean meal, cottonseed meal is the most widely available plant-based protein feed in the United States, used in a variety of livestock diets.

  • Cottonseed meal is de-hulled, fat-extracted cottonseed.  It is an excellent source of protein for ruminants and is the second most used high protein feed. It cannot be used in swine rations over 9 percent because of toxicity known as gossypol.

Whole Cottonseed

  • Cotton gin waste can be made into pellets and used as feed, fuel or fertilizer.

  • Whole or "fuzzy" cottonseed is the linted seed left over after ginning the long fibers. 

  • It is a concentrated source of protein and energy, primarily used in dairy cattle diets.

 Cotton analysis on a dry matter basis (%):





Metabolisable energy (ME) (Mega joules/kg dry matter)

Dry Matter (%)







 Country of origin

  • Grown most intensively in Spain, Greece, North America and India.

Storage / Processing

  • Stores well in cool dry conditions.

  • Material to be stored and transported in compliance with UFAS code of practice.