Figures Reveal How Livestock Benefits From Ethanol

US - When the U.S. Department of Agriculture came out with corn production numbers Tuesday that were revised upward to a bountiful 12.3 billion bushels, two areas of corn demand also saw an increase - the amount projected for ethanol use was increased by 150 million bushels to 4.1 billion bushels, and the corn for livestock feed was boosted 100 million bushels to 5.3 billion.
calendar icon 18 August 2008
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Although the USDA estimates that more corn will go into livestock feed than any other use, these figures leave out another important statistic, according the National Corn Growers Association - the amount of livestock feed that will be producedfrom the same corn that goes into ethanol.

In fact, if the USDA projection holds true, then there will be an additional equivalent of 1 billion bushels of livestock feed derived from the corn for ethanol, in the form of distiller grains (25.3 million metric tons), corn gluten feed (2.6 million metric tons) and corn gluten meal (500,000 metric tons).

"Distillers grains offer a high-protein feed for livestock and help us meet all needs."
NCGA President Ron Litterer

"Critics lament how much corn goes into ethanol but often ignore the coproducts and calculate too high a figure," said NCGA President Ron Litterer. "Distillers grains offer a high-protein feed for livestock and help us meet all needs."

While the industry is evolving and becoming more efficient, each bushel of corn, Litterer notes, can produce approximately 2.8 gallons of ethanol, in one of two different ways.

- In the dry milling process, each bushel of corn produces 17.5 pounds of distillers dried grains with solubles in addition to the ethanol. A high-protein livestock feed, corn distillers grains contain all the nutrients from the incoming corn minus the starch.

- In the wet milling process, 13.5 pounds of gluten feed are produced from each bushel of corn used. Corn gluten feed is rich in highly digestible fiber and is processed as either dry pellets or wet feed. These feeds are widely used for dairy and beef cattle, poultry, swine and pets. This process also results in 2.6 pounds of gluten meal, a high-protein concentrate that is excellent cattle feed providing a high level of rumen bypass protein. Finally, this process also results in 1.5 pounds of corn oil from each bushel used.

"When you take into account the use of coproducts, and shift a billion bushels of corn from the ethanol to the feed category, you get a better sense of where the corn is really going," Litterer added. "Actual ethanol production - as projected by the USDA for 2008 - will consume approximately 22 percent of the total 2008-09 corn supply of 13.9 billion bushels."

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