USGC: Feeding trials in southeast Mexico expand US DDGS use

By U.S. Grains Council | August 05, 2019

Utilizing Market Access Program and Agricultural Trade Program funds, the U.S. Grains Council’s Mexico office has invested in marketing U.S. distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) through strategic feeding trials in southeast Mexico.

In 2018, five trials proved DDGS to be economically successful within small cattle ranches in Yucatan, Veracruz and Chiapas. The Council believes this region has the potential to be a 1-2 million metric ton feed market and is working to demonstrate this potential to industry by signing memorandums of understanding (MOU) with local feed companies and ingredient suppliers to promote investment into the region.

The Council started promoting DDGS into this region more than five years ago when there were only two suppliers in the region. Since then, there has been incremental growth through MOU partners including large cattle and dairy associations that are now importing more than 19,600 tons of DDGS per year, valued at $5.9 million. In addition, the Council has been able to convince five additional U.S. suppliers to begin offering products in the region, including DDGS and other feed ingredients.

One of the five trials conducted in 2018 was with the largest beef producer in Mexico, which began a program to partner with ranchers from Southeast Mexico to increase cattle supply and ensure they can cover increased demand for feeder cattle. Pressed by the need to increase weight gain conversions, they are interested in the Council working with their toll cattle suppliers to help them deliver to the feedlots in a reduced amount of time.

Utilizing MAP funds to conduct the trial from July to November 2018, it was proven that the cows consuming DDGS as a supplement provide extra daily gains when compared with the control. The final results showed a better performance by the milking cows in milk production and replenishment of their body weight. The treated cows also produced a heavier calf, nursing twice a day. During the trial presentation, another toll-feeder was present and heard the results. The Council began to use ATP funds in 2019 for the follow up visits to the region. After a few consultations with the Council’s nutritionist, the ranch owner began using 150 tons of DDGS per month.

Thus, in the first half of 2019, sales have generated about $273,000 with only $5,000 ATP dollars invested. The ATP-funded program with the toll feeders returned $55 for every $1 of ATP funds invested. The Council invested $78,000 in MAP funding in feeding trials, resulting in $5.9 million in total sales of DDGS to MOU partners, producing an ROI of $75.6 for every $1 of MAP invested.