Aquaculture Ready To Net DDGS

Tom Bryan, editor in chief of Ethanol Producer Magazine highlights the feature stories in the July issue, which has a distilers grains theme. The stories touch on the aquaculture market, new FDA rules, new a product containing the coproduct and more.
By Tom Bryan | June 12, 2014

Discerning anglers will tell you those small yellow perch in the hands of the folks on our cover aren’t keepers by Minnesota fishing standards, but the aquaculture industry that grows them may soon be hooked on distillers grains. We’ve all heard about DDGS as a fish feed, but it’s always been a novel market most of us have brushed off. No longer, says the University of Minnesota’s Jerry Shurson, who appears in our lead story and also in this month’s Q&A. In “Fishing For Profit,” Shurson tells us that aquaculture could be the next big thing for corn ethanol’s principal coproduct. “It’s one of the little known stories about future markets that really has not been developed to its fullest extent,” he says.

Managing Editor Holly Jessen reports that the growth of aquaculture, globally, is expected to drive up the demand for plant-based protein substitutes for fish meal. We learn, for example, about one producer that’s virtually tailored its DDGS for fish. The worldwide aquaculture market, now 70 million metric tons per year, is attracting the attention of feed product manufacturers, including one pursuing microbial adaptations of DDGS and others that are introducing entirely new aquaculture products like yeast protein concentrate and bacterial biomass. As Jessen reports, the demand for new fish feed ingredients is virtually a sure bet.

In “Beyond Feed,” we turn our attention to the looming regulatory issues that producers of distillers grains will soon face. Senior Editor Susanne Retka Schill reports that, under the forthcoming Food Safety Modernization Act, the ethanol industry is not just facing new recordkeeping and manufacturing requirements, but the watchful eye of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The feed industry disagrees with the assertion that animal feed needs to be produced under the same hygienic standards as human food, but industry veterans like Purina’s Harold Tilstra and Gavilon’s Randy Ives say it’s best to embrace the standards and accept that distillers grains is being considered part of the human food chain by the FDA.  

Also this month, we look at how two distillers grains product manufacturers are collaborating. In “Complementary Strategies For Success,” we look at SweetPro’s effort to incorporate biodegradable materials into its DDGS blocks. The feed company is working with Laurel BioComposite LLC to make DDGS-based containers for its products. The product is sustainable, strong and price competitive with traditional petroleum-based resin containers.  

Finally, we examine the logistical challenges producers faced this past winter with delays caused by severe winter weather and increased rail traffic. In “Stuck At The Station,” we report that product shipments that normally take a couple of days to get moving were taking up to 10 days this winter. Delays caused by congestion from increased North American crude oil production is yet another row in the strained relationship between U.S. ethanol producers and their Big Oil customers. The degree to which movement on the rails this summer eases will be telling.  

Tom Bryan
President & Editor in Chief
tbryan@bbiinternational.com