The ethanol by-product known as dried distillers grains, or DDGs, is being fed more often these days to all types of livestock. At first, it was mainly beef and dairy cattle producers that utilized the product, which is rich in protein, fiber and oil. Now more hog producers are using the product, which serves to recapture about one third of the corn that goes into making ethanol for the livestock feed market. Each bushel of grain used in the ethanol-making process produces about 18 pounds of DDGS.
Companies like Novus International are helping to increase the use of DDGs in pork production by researching how much DDGs can be included in hog rations at different ages for proper nutrition. “We’ve increased the inclusion rates of distillers from just a few years ago, somewhere around ten percent, now to 30-40 percent in some diets,” says Brad Lawrence, Technical Manager for the Novus pork business in North America.
During the recent World Pork Expo in Des Moines, Lawrence said that has fundamentally changed the nutritional content of the pig’s diet, so Novus did some modeling and research and found that including oxidative balance additives in the feed helped get optimum performance from the animals. “Ethanol is here to stay,” Lawrence said. “There’s some concerns about corn availability, but as we put corn into an ethanol plant, we’re getting distillers back out. As swine nutritionists, that means we have to learn what the optimum nutritional technologies are that we can implement to get the most value out of the distillers.”
Listen to an interview with Brad Lawrence from World Pork Expo here: