Biodiesel By-product as Beef Feed

John Davis

MU logoUniversity of Missouri researchers are testing to see if glycerin, left over from biodiesel production, is a viable feed source for beef.

In a press release on the MU web site, Monty Kerley, professor of ruminant nutrition in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, is looking at how effective feeding glycerin would be. He’ll be testing the rowth of 60 calves through November, feeding some groups 5%, some groups 10%, and some groups 20% glycerin of their total diet. There will also be a control group that gets none. Kerley will look at growth performance and meat quality:

Kerley“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. Actually, it’s like feeding sugar to a cow. Because it’s liquid, there are two things we worry about – one, how much can be used in the diet before it changes the form of the diet; and two, is there a limit to how much glycerin can be processed by the animal? We’ll feed it to them for a period of 160 to 180 days.”

Similar experiements are being conducted at Iowa State University where researchers are looking at using glycerin for poultry and swine feed (see my post on April 12th).

Kerley says economics will play a large role in determining glycerin’s use as well. Right now, glycerin goes for about 4 cents a pound… corn costs 8 cents a pound. If glycerin as a feed source takes off, it will make those biodiesel plants just that much more viable.