Various factors may add to DDGS value

By Ryan C. Christiansen | January 12, 2009
Ethanol producers might be losing millions of dollars in revenue by inadvertently discounting the true value of their distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS), according to Jacinto Fabiosa, a researcher at Iowa State University.

Fabiosa said he feels the lost revenue is a result of DDGS not being tested and sold based on nutritional content. He reviewed nutritional variations in DDGS from 40 ethanol plants, and found no correlation between price and nutrition. He said DDGS should be analyzed and sold based on fat, protein, amino acid and mineral content.

Livestock and poultry producers can learn more about how to best use DDGS for feed with help from the Midwest Agribusiness Trade Research and Information Center at Iowa State University, which has published an electronic book titled "Using Distillers Grains in the U.S. and International Livestock and Poultry Industries." The publication details how to best utilize and optimize DDGS to suit the needs of beef cattle, dairy cattle, swine and poultry. It also identifies export opportunities for DDGS and describes some of the logistic hurdles that need to be resolved, as well as new technologies that are being used to improve DDGS as a feed ingredient.

Australia is now among international entities considering DDGS for feed. The U.S. Grains Council said the first imported sample of U.S. DDGS cleared customs in Australia and will be used in feeding trials by feed supplier CopRice. Hawkeye Gold LLC in Ames, Iowa, supplied the DDGS to CopRice. The DeLong Co. Inc. in Clinton, Wis., donated transloading services for the shipment, while the USGC covered freight costs.

Pelletizing distillers grains may also add new value to the ethanol coproduct. Ag Fuel & Feed LLC, a joint venture of Ag Pellet Energy LLC in Carmel, Ind., and Landers Machine Co. in Ft. Worth, Texas, have developed a new process to pelletize distillers dried grains (DDG) for feed or fuel without the use of additives or binders. Landers designed a die that mills a 100 percent DDG pellet by increasing the density of 15 percent moisture DDG to 40.6 pounds per cubic foot, which increases truck and railcar load rate potentials, and increases flowability and shelf life. Similarly, a pellet mill manufactured by New Delhi-based Hi-Tech Agro Projects Private Ltd. was demonstrated Dec. 9 at the Agricultural Utilization
Research Institute in Waseca, Minn. AURI is using the PL500 flat-die pellet mill to test how energy crops in the U.S. can be made into pellets for combustion and other applications. AURI pelletized DDGS and DDGS mixed with wheat middlings, a byproduct of flour or semolina production.