Dry Distillers Grains (DDG) are feasible as an energy source in beef cattle diets.
By: Kevin Gould, Michigan State University Extension
The average DDG price has fallen for eighteen consecutive weeks, declining $138 in that period. We are now at an average four-year low of $101 per ton this week. The recent decline in grain commodity prices have reduced rations cost to levels not seen in years. With current prices, producers with access to DDG’s and feeding knowledge, should consider reformulating rations to evaluate the feasibility of distillers products.
Below are some considerations Michigan State University Extension recommends when reformulating rations with distiller grains:
- Product specifications: Be sure to get the feed analysis of the product. Watch the fat content when you purchase as many of the companies are now removing fat, thus reducing energy values.
- Price: For those with multiple ethanol plants in your area, be sure to compare price and products.
- Farm storage capacity and feeding time: Storage size and duration must be considered since shelf life for the modified and wet products is limited. Plan accordingly when purchasing.
- Feeding guidelines: Develop rations based on research based ranges inclusion rates in the diets.
- Feeding method: Feeding logistic is important as weather conditions change so determine how the product can be efficiently managed and delivered in your system.
There may also be options to supplement cattle in grazing systems with DDG’s. Consider these options especially for stockers or beef cows after weaning or on crop residues. A little extra protein can dramatically increase digestibility of low quality feedstuffs like corn or soybean stover in cattle diets.