U.S. Grains Council releases Study on low-oil DDGS

By U.S. Grains Council | September 13, 2013

The U.S. ethanol industry continues to evolve, and many corn-based ethanol plants that send distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) into the global market have installed corn oil extraction equipment. The extraction equipment removes a portion of the non-food grade corn oil during the ethanol production process, making it available for other uses. However, this also changes the feeding characteristics and potential value of the DDGS, as regular DDGS may contain 10-12 percent oil (fat), while the low-oil variety contains 6-9 percent — or less with more advanced processes.

Recognizing this growing change in ethanol industry practices and in response to questions in the marketplace, the U.S. Grains Council commissioned a study in partnership with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada to examine the use of low-oil DDGS in cattle diets. The study, which focused on low-oil DDGS as a substitute for barley in Canadian cattle rations, was recently released at meeting in Lethbridge, Alberta.

As expected, research results found that low-oil DDGS has a lower energy content than regular DDGS. However, low-oil DDGS has about the same energy content as barley when compared to barely-based cattle rations. Low-oil DDGS also had no effect on cattle carcass quality – nor on overall production performance at common inclusion rates. In the feeding levels examined in the study, 20 percent low-oil corn DDGS as a substitute for barley grain in finishing feedlot diets proved to be optimal.

The Council said the research was important in resolving uncertainty about the changing composition of DDGS and to help maintain transparency between U.S. DDGS exporters and importers. It also noted that communication between sellers, marketers, buyers and end users is important. Sellers and marketers must work together to understand the nutrient makeup of the U.S. DDGS and inform buyers and nutritionists who need to know the type of product they are receiving in order to properly formulate rations and maximize animal performance. The value of the U.S. DDGS can then be properly assessed and agreed upon.

A copy of the study can be obtained from the U.S. Grains Council.

U.S. DDGS has proved to be a popular livestock and poultry feed ingredient in the United States and around the world. Roughly 40 million tons of the product is produced annually by corn-based ethanol plants, and 9 million to 10 million tons go into the export channel, an area that has seen rapid growth over the last five years as buyers from Canada to Taiwan learn more about it.

Sponsors of the study were the U.S. Grains Council and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. CHS, US Commodities and the North Dakota Corn Council sponsored speakers at the meeting in Lethbridge, while Gavilon sponsored a reception.