Synergies of Livestock and Ethanol

Cindy Zimmerman

There is a lot made about tensions between the ethanol and livestock industries but the distillers grains co-product of ethanol production is providing significant benefits for animal producers even as ethanol has helped prop up corn prices.

A great discussion at the 6th Annual Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit featured corn and cattle organizations on the same panel talking about the “Synergies of Livestock and Ethanol.”

Moderator Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey opened the discussion by noting that sales of crops and livestock have risen as ethanol production has increased from $12 billion in 2002 – 6 billion in crop and 6 billion in livestock – to $24 billion in 2010, and 2011 is expected to be about $30 billion with at least $13 billion of that for livestock. “$13 billion on the livestock side versus $6 billion nine years ago,” Northey said. “Has ethanol been good for livestock agriculture in Iowa? I think very clearly.”

Listen to a brief interview with Secretary Northey here: Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey

Iowa Cattlemen’s Association Executive Director Matt Deppe says it’s easy to see the benefits that distillers grains (DDGS) have brought to especially cattle feeders. “We look at it as a corn replacement,” Deppe says about DDGS. “It means that they (feedlot operators) have another option that’s cost effective to put into their rations.”

Listen to an interview with Matt Deppe here: Matt Deppe Interview

The livestock industry has traditionally been the most important market for corn, noted Iowa Corn Growers CEO Craig Floss, although use for ethanol has increased significantly in the past decade. “But a third of every one of those bushels that goes into an ethanol plant goes into DDGS,” he said.

The panel also included Randy Ives, director of ethanol services for the commodity management firm Gavilon Group.

Listen to or download the entire panel discussion here: Ethanol and Livestock panel

Photos from 2012 Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit

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