Exports of the primary by-product of ethanol production are continuing to skyrocket.
According to USDA’s Foreign Agriculture Service, exports of distillers grains from the United States nearly doubled last year, up more than 90% from 2007 to total 4.51 million metric tons. Distillers grains are an ethanol co-product used as livestock feed.
About one-third of every bushel of corn used to produce ethanol becomes distillers grains, which Renewable Fuels Association Vice President of Research and Analysis Geoff Cooper says have become a very valuable co-product for ethanol producers. “This increasing production and use of distillers grains is providing livestock feeders across the globe with a high protein source of feed that can partially displace the need for whole corn and soybean meal in feed rations,” said Cooper. “As a result, distillers grains are an important and often overlooked component of both the fictitious debate about food versus fuel and the ongoing discourse surrounding the science of land use change.”
The largest markets for exports of distillers grains from the United States in 2008 were Mexico, Canada and Turkey.