IDGC: Distillers grains products markets grow

By Hope Deutscher | June 03, 2009
Report posted June 15, 2009, at 9:27 p.m. CST

From cattle, poultry and swine feed to deer attractants and biocomposite materials, ethanol industry leaders are focused on providing a range of products utilizing distillers grains. Approximately 130 industry representatives and researchers attended the fourth annual International Distillers Grains Conference and Trade Show in Denver on June 15. The day-long event was sponsored by BBI International.

Among the topics discussed by about a dozen experts was the future of exports, expectations from the feed industry, the role of antimicrobials, regulations, fractionation, improving quality control and available drying technologies.

Distillers grains, a byproduct of ethanol production which is valued for its protein and energy content, can be added to animal rations in place of corn.

Steve Markham, a merchandiser for CHS Inc., told the audience that the distillers grains market continues to grow, especially in the export sector. In 2008, total U.S. distillers grains production was approximately 22 million metric tons, more than 4.5 million metric tons of distillers dried grains with soluble were exported - a 91 percent increase over 2007 exports.

Domestically, Markham said the fastest growing user of distillers grains is the swine industry, while the dairy consumption of distillers grains is nearly saturated. As for the poultry industry, Markham said distillers grains will become a staple to the laying industry if the industry settles the issues surrounding the use of antibiotics.

However, in a later session, Amy Batal, a professor at the University of Georgia said that in talking with feed industry experts, antibiotic residue in distillers grains hasn't been an issue in the past three years.

In addition to crude protein, animal producers also turn to using distillers grains because it provides amino acids, she said, adding that the digestibility of amino acids is very important to the feed industry. However, she said, in addition to the nutritional elements of distillers grains, the availability, price and consistency need to be addressed by the ethanol industry.

During one of the day's later sessions, Jeffrey Tate, executive vice president for business development with J. Jireh Holdings LLC, told IDGC attendees about his company's drying solutions for solubles and how its creating a variety of products - such as deer attractant and slug deterrent pellets.

The fifth annual IDGC will be held in June 2010 in St. Louis, Mo.