ADM funds distillers grains research in China

By Kris Bevill | March 27, 2012

Archer Daniels Midland Co. is expanding its research activities related to the use of distillers grains and corn stover to replace corn in cattle diets, recently announcing a two-year research project to be conducted in China to explore the potential for the alternative feeds to be used at Chinese dairy farms. ADM will provide an undisclosed sum to fund the research program, which will be conducted jointly with Shengli Li, professor of dairy science at China Agricultural University. The program will include a series of feeding trials at the university as well as cooperative trials at some of China’s large dairy farms.

ADM has been a leader in researching stover/distillers grains combinations as corn replacements in cattle diets for several years in the U.S. The company has collaborated with researchers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Iowa State University and the University of Illinois to conduct more than 20 feeding trials, the results of which have shown that it could be possible to replace more than 60 percent of the corn in cattle diets with a mixture of 20 percent treated stover and 40 percent distillers grains. 

In China, where the nation’s livestock currently consume approximately 112 million metric tons of corn per year, replacing more than half of that demand with alternate feeds would be a significant cost-savings for the country’s cattle producers and is a driving force behind this research, according to Li. “We at China Agricultural University are pleased to join with ADM to help investigate the potential to reduce dairy farmers’ cost-per-head, and to preserve valuable grain for higher-value uses,” he said in a statement.

China is the world’s second largest consumer of corn. Ismael Roig, ADM vice president and president of the company’s Asia-Pacific division, said the corn replacement research is part of ADM’s goal to assist countries in mitigating potential food security issues. “A growing and increasingly prosperous Chinese population is eating diets higher in animal protein, and driving higher demand for grain in the country,” he said in a statement. “As a leading agricultural processor serving vital needs for food and energy, ADM is keenly interested in helping China ensure food security for its citizens by making better use of the grain the world already grows today, and by finding high-value applications for biomass such as corn stover.”