News last update:6 Aug 2012

Use of glycerin as cattle feed tested

Agricultural scientists from the University of Missouri are looking into the possibilities to use glycerin, a byproduct from the biodiesel industry, as cattle feed.

In a 6-month study that began this month, ruminant nutrition Professor Monty Kerley and colleagues are monitoring the growth of 60 calves from various being feed glycerin.

Short term option
"We're really looking at the energy value and how it compares to corn," Kerley said. "When the animal consumes glycerin, it's absorbed, and the glycerin is used to make glucose. Because it's liquid, there are two things we worry about; how much can be used in the diet before it changes the form of the diet; and whether there is a limit to how much glycerin can be processed by the animal". Even if glycerin proves acceptable as a cattle feed, Kerley said it would likely only be a short-term option.

"We probably have a 3- to 5-year window to use this for animal feed at a reduced cost," he said. "After three to five years, you'll see industrial applications utilizing this glycerin and that may price it out of the animal feed industry." 

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University of Missouri

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