USDA Not Horning in on Livestock Feed

John Davis

A federal ag department researcher says the U.S. Department of Agriculture is not trying to take the by-products of biofuels out of the livestock feed system… just trying to find more uses for what’s leftover after biodiesel and ethanol are produced.

This story from says Kurt Rosentrater wants to assure livestock producers that his studies on using dried distillers’ grains (DDGs) to make plastics are not intended to divert feed from the livestock industry… something he has been doing at the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service North Central Agricultural Research Laboratory in Brookings, S.D., since 2004:

“The thing that was on everyone’s mind back then was the 10 million-ton question: What are we going to do with all this distiller’s grain?” he says. “This was back when it was 5 (million) or 6 million tons a year production. And now it’s 16 (million), 17 (million), 18 million tons, so people are asking me, ‘Why are you taking this valuable feed and putting it in plastic?’ ”

Rosentrater says he’s not. He wants to take the remains after the feed components are extracted and use that for bio-plastics.

“We’ve only taken a couple steps down that path right now, but that’s ultimately where I’d like to see this go,” he says. “So can you provide the animals their livestock feed and biodiesel, if you pulled the oil out, and other things, and then what can you do with what’s left?”

DDG production this year reached 17 million tons, the vast majority of which went to animal feeds in the cattle, swine and poultry industries.

Because of this, Rosentrater does not see a need right now to find new things to do with DDGs.

“But five years from now, 10 years from now, when we have the large-scale bio-refineries working on corn, ligno-cellulosic materials and other biofuels, there will be a need potentially at some point to say, ‘What can we do with this if it has no animal feed value?’ ” he says.

A key point of Rosentrater’s research is to find something better than oil for products we use every day… a point that ethanol and biodiesel producers are also trying to do.

Biodiesel, Ethanol, Government, News