Not All DDGS Made Equal, Says Purdue Research

US - Although it all comes from corn used to make ethanol, not all dried distillers' grains with solubles (DDGS) are created equal.
calendar icon 11 November 2008
clock icon 4 minute read

Nutrient content and availability of the grain product makes some batches of DDGS more suitable as feed for livestock species than others, said Scott Radcliffe, Purdue University Extension swine nutrition specialist.

"There definitely are different nutritional needs and different issues with DDGS, particularly between ruminant and non-ruminant species," Radcliffe said. "In the future there may be the potential for ethanol plants to customize distillers' grains for individual livestock species."

"There definitely are different nutritional needs and different issues with DDGS, particularly between ruminant and non-ruminant species"
Scott Radcliffe, Purdue University Extension swine nutrition specialist.

Radcliffe will discuss nutrient digestibility of DDGS among various farm animals during the Integrated Corn Ethanol Co-product Conference. The conference, sponsored by Purdue and the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, takes place from 8:15 a.m. to 4:40 p.m. Nov. 18 at the Beck Agricultural Center. The center is located at the Purdue Agronomy Center for Research and Education, seven miles northwest of Purdue's West Lafayette campus along U.S. 52.

The conference is intended for those in the ethanol industry, livestock producers and animal nutritionists. Conference registration is free for those attending at the Beck Agricultural Center, although preregistration is required. The conference also can be viewed online. The Internet Webinar fee is $20 for members of the American Society of Animal Science and Purdue Extension county educators and $30 for all others.

To preregister for the conference or to view the entire conference schedule, visit The site includes a link to the preregistration page for the Webinar. Lunch, refreshments and conference materials will be provided for those who attend the conference at Beck.

During his 10:50 a.m. session, Radcliffe will present results of research he and fellow Purdue specialists conducted with DDGS batches made at a commercial ethanol plant. Batches were prepared with different syrup inclusion levels and recycling rates to determine how processing conditions impact nutrient content and availability to livestock and poultry.

"A few things have changed since we started the project," Radcliffe said. "When we began, ethanol plants were making money on the ethanol they produced, they were able to buy corn at a competitive price and oil prices were fairly high. Now, oil prices are low, ethanol prices are low and corn prices have dropped. Because some ethanol plants locked in higher corn prices, many of them are now struggling to make money on ethanol.

"As it turns out, the DDGS side of their businesses could wind up being the difference in their bottom lines."

Other conference sessions will cover DDGS topics on handling and storage, economics, animal performance and carcass qualities, feed supplements, and effects on excretion and manure management. Speakers include specialists from Purdue's departments of Animal Sciences, Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, and Agronomy. Purdue agricultural economist Chris Hurt is scheduled to talk about markets and prices for distillers' grains during the lunch break.

Further Reading

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