Profit Tip: Storing Grain Byproducts
Distillers grains are a good source of energy, protein and phosphorus. Distillers grains have about 125% more energy than corn and are usually priced less than corn on a dry-matter basis. When one considers the fact that distillers grains have more energy and cost less than corn they become an attractive method for reducing costs when supplemental energy is needed in the diet.
Distillers grains fit nicely into forage-based diets because the energy is in the form of fat and highly digestible fiber. The protein is mostly bypass- or undegraded-intake protein which is useful in situations where the animal has relatively high protein requirements, such as a developing heifer or young animals on grass.
If supplemental protein is needed in the diet, distillers grains should be compared to other available feedstuffs on a cost per pound of protein basis.
Distillers grains can be purchased in both the wet and dry forms. Purchasing wet distillers grains eliminates the cost of drying but increases the cost of transportation. Therefore either wet or dry distillers may be more economical depending on distance from the ethanol plant.
Historically there has been a seasonal depression in price of distillers grains during the summer months. This is likely because feedlots are the biggest user of distillers grains and there are fewer cattle on feed during the summer. Purchasing wet distillers in the summer and storing until needed is a way for producers to reduce costs. Producers have employed a variety of successful methods for storing wet distillers either by itself or mixed with forage.
An outline of these methods as well as other important storage related topics can be found in a report jointly published by the University of Nebraska and the Nebraska Corn Board called "Storage of Wet Corn Co-Products".
Storage of Wet Corn Co-Products (PDF 19.68MB, 20pgs)
Dr. Aaron Stalker
Former Assistant Professor, Beef Cattle Nutrition
University of Nebraska West Central Research and Extension Center