Production of distillers' grains (DDGs) has quadrupled since 2004/05, paralleling the rapid growth of US ethanol production. As a feedstuff supply can hardly keep up with demand.
Despite initial concerns about the capacity of US or foreign livestock feeders to utilise DDGs, they are now the second largest category of processed feed used in the US, amounting to an estimated 29.1 million metric tonnes in 2010/11.
The US Economic Research Service projections point to further growth in DDGs production. For the foreseeable future, however, potential feed use of DDGs in the US exceeds projected supply.
Initially, observers questioned the industry’s ability to process and market a high-quality, storeable, DDGs product and the degree to which the nutritional characteristics were suited to certain types of livestock/poultry.
Nevertheless, both US and international feeders rapidly adopted DDGs, which possess at least the same energy as corn and protein content between that of corn and soybean meal.
All livestock and poultry can use the nutrients from DDGs, but ruminants can use them more readily than monogastrics.
Furthermore, technological advances are making it possible to change the composition of DDGs and tailor them to the nutrient needs of each type of animal.
As much as one-quarter of US DDGs supply has been exported, which will support continued growth in its use. Main markets include China, Mexico, and Canada. Exports have benefited from technical assistance from US trade groups.
(Image from http://www.grainacademymuseum.com/images/27_-_Off_to_the_Orient.JPG)
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