USGC: Swine feeding trial leads to DDGS sales to Ireland

By U.S. Grains Council | March 04, 2021

Thanks to the U.S. Grain’s Council’s work promoting the benefits of distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) to Irish swine, producers in the country have upped their inclusion of U.S. DDGS significantly, opening a market worth tens of millions annually.  

Ireland is a consistent buyer of U.S. DDGS, purchasing 360,000 metric tons in 2019, valued at $91 million. However, with the prospect of no-deal Brexit, Irish feed mills could lose their biggest source of income in the dairy and beef industries due to tariff consequences going into the United Kingdom. Seeking to evaluate a potential market opening, USGC found that feed millers were not using DDGS for monogastric diets, which are less at risk from a no-deal Brexit and sought to turn their attention instead toward the swine industry. 

The Council conducted a feeding trial with a swine farm in the north of Ireland to test the health benefits of U.S. DDGS over competitor feed grains. Results of the feeding trial showed positive results, namely that the inclusion of DDGS leads to healthier and heaver pigs coupled with a cheaper feed cost. 

This assessment led to direct work with the swine industry to answer questions related to nutrition and encourage inclusion in rations. As a result, a large Irish feed mill, which produces 500,000 tons of pig feed annually, decided to change its feed formula, increasing the DDGS inclusion rate from zero to 15 percent. This formulation change will lead to an additional demand for 75,000 tons of U.S. DDGS, annually valued at $17.2 million. This same feed mill is noted as being influential in its region and could lead to additional mills purchasing more U.S. DDGS in the future. 

This targeted promotion program generated a return on investment (ROI) of $1,720 per $1 of Market Access Program (MAP) funds invested. Moreover, the data gathered in the study identified Irish “backyard” farmers could be a potentially profitable demographic to target in the future.