Researchers from across the country gathered at a checkoff-funded summit titled "Ethanol Co-Products – Beef Product Implications” in November 2006 to develop a summary of existing research and establish future research needs. As a response to those identified needs and in an effort to determine the impact of feeding high levels of ethanol co-products (e.g., distiller's grains) on beef end-product quality and safety, the beef checkoff funded a total of six research projects.
Four projects focused on beef quality research:
- Chris Calkins, Ph.D., University of Nebraska – "Wet Distiller's Grains – Effect on Beef Quality”
- Jim Drouillard, Ph.D., Kansas State University – "Quality and Composition of Beef from Cattle Fed Distiller's Grains is Similar to Traditional Beef”
- Scott Lake, Ph.D., Purdue University – "Effects of Dietary Fat and Crude Protein on Feedlot Performance and Carcass Characteristics in Steers Fed Differing Levels of Distiller's Dried Grains with Solubles”
- Jim MacDonald, Ph.D., Texas AgriLife Research – Amarillo – "Marbling Attributes and Sensory Ratings of Beef Loins Resulting from Dietary Distiller's Grains Inclusion in Combination with Two Corn Processing Methods”
Two projects focused on beef safety research:
- Jim Drouillard – "Distiller's Grains did not Increase E. coli O157:H7 in Feedlot Steers”
- Jim Wells, Ph.D., USDA-ARS Meat Animal Research Center – "Effects of Feeding Distiller's Grains on Level and Prevalence of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in Feedlot Cattle”
"Many questions have been asked about the impact of distiller's grains on beef quality and safety,” says Craig Uden, vice chair of the industry's Research, Education and Innovation Group, and producer from Elwood, Neb. "The checkoff is funding these research projects in direct response to the questions raised at the Summit.”
The results of these research projects add to the body of knowledge the entire industry is compiling to determine the effects of using distiller's grains in cattle diets and their impact on product quality and safety. These studies have identified additional knowledge gaps the checkoff and the industry will continue to address.
"As our industry and production practices evolve and change, the checkoff continues to be a leader in the area of beef quality and safety research,” adds Uden. "Any steps we can take to let producers know what the consumer is demanding helps our bottom line. Our commitment as producers is to provide a healthy, great-tasting beef product to consumers and checkoff-funded research helps us to deliver just that.”
More information about checkoff-funded research projects can be found at www.BeefResearch.org (click here to view the executive summary of this research). For more information about the beef checkoff, visit www.MyBeefCheckoff.com.