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DDGS May Help Pork Producers Save Money

by 5m Editor
22 September 2008, at 12:14pm

SOUTH DAKOTA - With the relatively high prices of corn, soybean meal, and dicalcium phosphate, pork producers should consider utilizing dry distillers grains with solubles (DDGS) to save money.

This is according to South Dakota Cooperative Extension Swine Specialist Bob Thaler, who recommends adding 20 percent DDGS to grow-finish hog diets. Doing so can reduce costs more than $16 per ton of feed, which would result in a savings of $5.40 per pig.


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"DDGS is a co-product of the ethanol industry, so it is readily available, and pork producers who add 10 percent DDGS to their swine herd's total diet can lower the cost per ton by $8.11."
Bob Thaler, South Dakota Cooperative Extension Swine Specialist

"Today, corn is more than $5 per bushel, and soybean meal is more than $300 per ton," said Thaler. "Dicalcium phosphate is selling at $1,000 per ton. Put those numbers together, and it's easy to see why producers are considering alternatives that work."

Thaler says DDGS is just that. "DDGS is a co-product of the ethanol industry, so it is readily available, and pork producers who add 10 percent DDGS to their swine herd's total diet can lower the cost per ton by $8.11."

"You can feed up to 30 percent DDGS in grow-finish diets without affecting growth performance," said Thaler.

"However, once your ration goes above 20 percent DDGS in late-finishing diets, you risk the development of soft fat in swine bellies, which is a problem for the packing industry. Producers can run up to 30 percent DDGS in the grower and early finishing phase if they back their feed off to 20 percent in the last month to avoid this."

Thaler said producers should benefit using a 30-percent DDGS ration on gestation diets and a 10-percent DDGS diet for lactation and late-nursery swine diets.

"When you bring DDGS into a feeding program, balance the diet on amino acids, not protein, as amino acid digestibility values are different in DDGS and soybean meal," said Thaler. "It's also important to balance on available phosphorus, to get the full economic and environmental benefits, and to buy DDGS only from ethanol plants that produce high-quality DDGS, to avoid mycotoxins and variable nutrient content."

"County Extension livestock educators also can help, and producers can call the SDSU Department of Animal and Range Sciences for help as well," Thaler said. "Our Web site also includes information that can help in this time of higher-priced feed. For example, there is a DDGS calculator for producers to plug in their own values to see what kind of savings they could expect on their own farm."

Further Reading

- You can find out more information on the use of DDGS in swine herds by clicking here.


5m Editor