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Producers Warned of Variability between DDGS Sources

23 December 2011, at 2:16pm

CANADA - Because of the differences in techniques and technologies used to produce ethanol from grain, Canadian swine producers who feed dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS) are being advised to be aware of the source of the product and to pay close attention to its quality, writes Bruce Cochrane.

DDGS are the product left over after ethanol has been made from grain, typically corn or wheat or other grains or combinations of grains.

Because of differences in methods used to produce ethanol and different mixes of grain, the nutritional content of the DDGS can be highly variable.

Dr Denise Beaulieu, a research scientist nutrition with the Saskatoon-based Prairie Swine Centre, encourages producers to utilise dried distillers grains with solubles when they can be sourced at a cost-effective price but to keep that variability in mind.

Dr Denise Beaulieu – Prairie Swine Centre

The variability is primarily due to what happens after the ethanol has been made and it's because during the process, DDGS are typically wet and so it's partially due to what happens during the drying.

If the temperatures are too high during drying, the protein, especially the lysine content, can be damaged so the digestibility of the lysine can go down.

Also and fairly recently some of the plants are taking the fat out of the DDGS as another value-added ingredient so they're taking the fat or the oil out and selling this as a separate product.

If producers are getting DDGS from these plants, then the energy content will dramatically reduced compared to what they're used to or if they're getting from plants that are selling the DDGS with the oil still in and this is primarily relevant to corn distillers.


Dr Beaulieu notes variability within a plant would typically come from the grain source and would change depending on the mix of grains used to produce ethanol.

She suggests that if producers develop a good working relationship with the plant from which they source the product, they can be informed of such changes and alter their ration formulations to accommodate them.