DDGS feed trials begin in Mexico

By | October 01, 2002
In early October, a University of Minnesota swine nutrition expert and an agricultural marketing consultant with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) flew south of the border, to the state of Jalisco, Mexico, to start feed trials expected to lead to a major export market for Minnesota-produced distillers grains.

The team helped set up at least six different trials to establish the benefit of using DDGS as a livestock feed.

Aided by funding from the Minnesota Corn Research and Promotion Council, the Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) two years ago began working on a project to develop standards and certification processes for DDGS produced in Minnesota. As part of this project, the MCGA partnered with Minnesota ethanol plants in the state as well as researchers such as Dr. Jerry Shurson, to study the role high-grade DDGS could play in swine and poultry rations.

Craig Damstrom of the MDA accompanied Dr. Shurson to Mexico. Damstrom has worked with the MCGA and the ethanol plants, which have joined in a program called MinnCert, which will deliver a guaranteed high grade of DDGS, name-branded Norgold, to market it specifically for swine and poultry.

"The plan is to show the most effective way to use DDGS for feed rations for poultry and swine," said Damstrom. The MinnCert program and the Norgold name brand guarantee the customers a process, a quality, a specific maximum level of mycotoxins, a color, and other characteristics. The Norgold concept is a high quality DDGS designed to contain high digestible levels of amino acids, phosphorous, and high fat and energy."

Jalisco, located in the Pacific coastal region of Mexico, produces the major portion of dairy, swine and poultry in Mexico. The Minnesota Corn Growers Association donated a rail car full of DDGS for the trials and the Mexican feed and producer groups paid the freight charges, which amounted to a 50/50 split of the costs for the trials, Damstrom said. One Mexican feed company has indicated it would place a standing order for 1,000 tons of DDGS a month, which represents five percent of its total output. Damstrom said that utilizing DDGS for five to ten percent of the feed ration appears to provide the greatest benefit, both nutritionally and economically.

"We export distillers grains into Canada, Mexico and Latin America," noted John Schnittker, manager of market analysis for the U.S. Grains Council, a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit group that promotes the export of U.S. grain production. " To date the applications have been in ruminants, primarily in dairy. But in Minnesota, you've got the new generation DDGS, golden in color, more consistent, which can be used in swine. There are commercial swine operations in Mexico that have the potential to use DDGS. It's a question of introducing them to the product and assuring them of a steady supply. The supply situation is quite tight right now, but the continued expansion of dry-mill ethanol plants will change that. Right now, U.S. ethanol plants produce around (3.85) million tons per year."

Assuming the trials are successful, the results will be used as part of promotional and educational work that Damstrom will conduct in Mexico the first part of next year to establish this new market for DDGS.