JUser: :_load: Unable to load user with ID: 727

Dairy and DDGS

  • Tuesday, 27 June 2017 13:25

June is National Dairy Month and to celebrate, we revisit the numerous benefits DDGS provide the dairy industry!

To recap, DDGS are dried distillers grains with solubles, a high protein animal feed that is coproduced during ethanol production. When delivered to an ethanol plant, one bushel of corn produces on average 2.8 gallons of ethanol, 18 lbs of DDGS and 1.5 lbs of corn oil. In 2016, Minnesota produced 3.5 million tons of dried distiller’s grains.

NDSU Extension Service summed up the conversion process by saying that when grains are used to produce ethanol, approximately one-third of the grain is recovered in coproducts and the original nutrients are increased three fold due to grains containing two-thirds starch. For example, if the corn used is 4 percent carbohydrates, DDGs will contain approximately 12 percent carbohydrates. Because of these powerful nutritional benefits, the Extension recommends lactating cows be fed 10 to 12 pounds of DDGS.

The US Grains Council states DDGS are a good source of protein, fat, phosphorus, and energy for lactating dairy cows and that diets containing up to 30 percent DDGS provide similar or increased milk production compared with when cows are fed traditional feeds. They reported that distiller’s grains can replace more expensive sources of protein, energy, and minerals in dairy cow diets. The Council also stated that DDGS can be effectively used by mid-lactating dairy cows under heat-stressed climatic conditions, concluding that this high quality co-product can be used effectively in the dairy industry in sub-tropical and tropical regions of the world.

This statement was echoed by the National Agriculture and Food Research Organization in Japan, which reported that DDGS are low in lignin and starch and high in digestible fiber compared with original corn grains. Due to DDGS containing higher protein and fat, which is rich in vitamin E, they are considered effective at reducing oxidative stress of dairy cows in hot conditions. Tests also found that the nutritional energy level in the DDGS increase milk lactose levels, an indication of higher energy status in cows.

Similarly, South Dakota State University in Brookings tested the inclusion of DDGS to comprise 20 percent of the diet, which in turn resulted in increased milk production while maintaining milk components. And when 30 percent of the diets of lactating dairy cows included DDGS, milk production increased in tandem.

Moreover, Iowa State University has found that milk from cows fed with DDGS may be healthier as indicated data from a health promoting index. In particular, they found the ratio of saturated to unsaturated fatty acids decreased as DDGS increased, indicating that that the fatty acid composition of milk from cows fed with DDGS may be more desirable from a human health perspective.

But that’s not all.

The Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Dairy and Swine Research and Development Centre discovered that when dairy cows were eating 30 percent DDGS in their daily food intake, methane production decreased by 14 percent. Meaning the more DDGs consumed, the less methane is produced from enteric fermentation. The study also confirmed, “Cows offered the 30 percent DDGS diet produced 4 kg/d more milk than when offered the diet with 0 percent DDGS supplementation. The higher milk production was, in fact, due to the greater energy density of the diets containing corn distillers grains.”

With all of these great reports we present yet another showcase of the successful partnership between our thriving livestock industries and DDGS. You can also read our blogs featuring chicken, pork and sheep DDGS diets as well.

Wishing everyone a happy National Dairy Month!