By Doug Rich
The Alltech North American Lecture Tour made a stop in Springfield, Mo., on Jan. 9. The theme was "How will we feed our animals"?
The growing demand for corn by the ethanol industry is creating new challenges for the animal feeding industry. According to Alltech, due to the recent and continued rise of the ethanol industry, the percentage of available, consumable corn will continue to decline at a rapid rate. The percentage of corn used for animal feed has dropped from 80 percent to 50 percent and ethanol production has increased by 250 percent in the last two years.
In this country there are 86 ethanol plants capable of producing 4.4 billion gallons of ehtnaol and another 38 plants are under construction.
One of the biggest challenges for the animal feed industry is to determine how best to utilize distillers dried grains (DDGS) in rations for all types of livestock. According to Alltech, 3.2 million metric tons of DDGS are currently used in the animal feed industry to create a high-energy, high-protein feed ingredient that has been found to have three times the level of non-starch nutrients than the original corn. Eventually, as the ethanol industry expands, the animal feed industry will have 40 million tons of DDGS to consume.
"We have to learn how to use this product just like we did soybean meal," Dr. Kate Jacques said. Dr. Jacques is Director of Nutrition for Alltech.
This means learning to adjust to the handling and nutritional concerns associated with DDGS. Dr. Jacques said consistency is a big problem with DDGS. Batch to batch and plant to plant the product can vary. Ethanol plant managers need to better understand their product and understand the animal industry's needs.
Dr. Jacques said that if mycotoxins are present in the corn they are concentrated in the DDGS. "Distillation can make a bad corn worse," Dr. Jacques said
When DDGS are used in animal rations feeders need to be aware of the phosphorus, sodium, fat and amino acid availability. Flowability of the product is a concern also in some situations.
Although DDGS is most commonly used in rations for beef animals research is being done on rations for swine and poultry that use DDGS. Secondary fermentation or further processing of ethanol co-products may be necessary.
Fractionization is one possibility. This process involves the removal of fat to increase the protein content so it is more useful for mixing and blending purposes in base mix formulations.
"We may need to re-jig the whole ethanol production industry," Dr. Pearse Lyons said. Dr. Lyons is president and founder of Alltech.
Alltech researchers at their North American Bioscience Center in Nicholasville, Ky., and Alltech's sold state fermentation (SSF) plant in Serdan, Mexico are working the use of SSF or enzyme treatment to improve alcohol yield and the digestibility of DDGS. By using Allzyme SSF, Alltech hopes to offer a flexible approach to feed formulation through the inclusion of fiber by-products or by reducing nutrient constraints in the diet, particularly energy, calcium and available phosphorus.