Quality DDGS depends on grain type
When it comes to using distiller's grains in finishing rations of High Plains
cattle, a Texas AgriLife Research scientist says the type of grain used makes
all the difference.
Two years ago, Dr. Jim MacDonald, AgriLife Research beef nutritionist at
Amarillo began investigating the dramatically different animal performance
responses observed in the Northern Plains and Southern Plains, and to determine
how to successfully incorporate distiller's grains into this region's finishing
rations. "There are two obvious differences in research conducted in those two
regions," he said. "Researchers in the Northern Plains tend to use dry-rolled
corn, and in the Southern Plains, they use steam-flaked corn-based
Additionally, researchers in Nebraska and other Northern Plains
states utilized distiller's grains derived from corn; whereas the southern
research included distiller's grains derived from sorghum, he said. MacDonald
conducted three performance trials, two using corn-based distiller's grain
shipped in from a Nebraska plant, and the third utilizing sorghum-derived
distiller's grains that were similar to those used in research previously
conducted in this region.
Different energy value
"Our study in
feeding sorghum distiller's grain at 25 percent of dry matter, showed the energy
value for that product was 73 percent of the value of steam-flaked corn,"
MacDonald said. "In general, that fits with previously conducted research at
Texas Tech and West Texas A&M."
Alternatively, he said, the research
conducted with corn-derived distiller's grains from Nebraska would suggest the
energy value was roughly equivalent to steam-flaked corn, which agrees with the
northern data where distiller's grains were fed in steam-flaked
"So what our observations are showing us is there are large
variations in the energy value of distiller's grains derived from different
cereal grain sources, similar to the differences in energy values of the cereal
grains themselves," MacDonald said.
There will be a place for all of the
different types of distiller's grains produced, but the producer needs to know
what the energy value is and the product needs to be priced appropriately, he
said. MacDonald said another important thing for producers to understand is that
distiller's grains from each plant may be different, so it is important to have
a relationship with the provider of distiller's grains.
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