U.S. exports of the ethanol co-product distillers grains (DG) were the second-highest on record in 2018, totaling 11.88 million metric tons (MMT), according to a new report from the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA).
An estimated 31 percent of U.S. DG production was exported in 2018, meaning nearly one out of every three tons produced was exported to 50 countries on six continents last year. Mexico remained the top destination for U.S. DG, representing 17 percent, followed by Vietnam (11 percent), South Korea (10 percent), Thailand (9 percent) and Turkey (7 percent). Compared to 2017, Vietnam and the United Kingdom saw the most growth in U.S. DG exports, increasing by 306 percent and 52 percent, respectively.
However, U.S. DG exports to China continued to see a significant drop since 2016, when the country imposed punitive anti-dumping and countervailing duties against U.S. product. “Exports to China fell further after plunging 84 percent in 2017 due to the imposition of duties; it ranked 17th in 2018, accounting for only 2 percent of U.S. exports,” the summary noted.
The report also details exports of corn gluten meal, another ethanol co-product for livestock feed. U.S. exports totaled 821,000 MT in 2018. Indonesia, Chile, and Egypt were top destinations; U.S. exports of corn gluten feed reached 1.17 MMT in 2018, down slightly from the prior year. Ireland, Israel and the United Kingdom accounted for a combined 76 percent of total U.S. corn gluten feed exports.