Export Exchange: DDGS has multiple benefits as livestock feed

By Ann Bailey | October 26, 2016

Distillers grain is a tremendous buy for livestock producers and there’s no sound reason they shouldn’t purchase it to feed their poultry, cattle and swine, Gerald “Jerry” Shurson, University of Minnesota swine nutrition specialist told attendees at Export Exchange 2016.

More than 400 men and women, including about 200 international buyers and coarse grain end-users from more than 35 countries across the globe, gathered at Export Exchange in Detroit Oct, 24-26 to meet and hear information about the economic, export and production outlook for feed grains commodities and DDGS. Export Exchange is co-sponsored by the U.S. Grains Council and the Renewable Fuels Association.

Besides having good feed value for livestock and poultry, DDGS has several other benefits including reducing methane emissions in dairy cows, said Shurson, a U.S. Grains Council consultant.

“That’s a big value-added property we need to exploit,” he said. Another positive environmental impact of feeding DDGS to livestock is that it reduces hydrogen sulfide and ammonia in the manure of piglets. Meanwhile, because DDGS have the highest digestible phosphorus of any food on the planet, the amount of algae growth in lakes and rivers is reduced when distillers grain is fed to livestock, Shurson noted.

Another benefit of DDGS, which contains natural antioxidants, is that it improves the health of animals without the use antibiotics, Shurson said.

“If you haven’t used DDGS, try it. If you have used it, use more,” Shurson said. Livestock producers who need technical help formulating rations can seek advice from the U.S. Grains Council, Shurson said.

Modest growth is expected in the export of DDGS and corn gluten supplies as ethanol production continues to slowly expand, Geoff Cooper, RFA senior vice president, said during another Export Exchange presentation. While DDGS exports to China have slowed, other countries in east Asia and in southeast Asia, Mexico and the Middle East are growing, Cooper said.

Domestically, no matter who wins the U.S. presidential election Nov. 8, trade, including the exports of DDGS and other agricultural commodities, are too important to U.S. consumers, to the agriculture industry, and to the country as a whole, to be relegated to the kind of political rhetoric that has been at the forefront during the campaign season, said Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of RFA. Trade will not be scaled back and trade pacts, which have played an important role in increasing exports, will remain in place, Dinneen predicted.