A U.S. team of agricultural scientists is conducting a six-month study into the feasibility of using glycerin, a biodiesel byproduct, as cattle feed.
In a study that began this month, University of Missouri ruminant nutrition Professor Monty Kerley and colleagues are monitoring the growth of 60 calves from various being feed glycerin.
'We`re really looking at the energy value and how it compares to corn,' Kerley said. 'When the animal consumes glycerin, it`s absorbed, and the glycerin is used to make glucose. Because it`s liquid, there are two things we worry about -- one, how much can be used in the diet before it changes the form of the diet; and two, is there a limit to how much glycerin can be processed by the animal?'
Even if glycerin proves acceptable as a cattle feed, Kerley said it would likely only be a short-term option.
'We probably have a 3- to 5-year window to use this for animal feed at a reduced cost,' he said. 'After three to five years, you`ll see industrial applications utilizing this glycerin and that may price it out of the animal feed industry.'