There has been a major price reduction recently for wet, modified and dried distillers grains. This price move may encourage producers to consider purchasing and storage of these products for use either as a protein or energy source during the upcoming fall and winter. Distillers grains is an excellent protein and energy source that complements the energy from fiber in forage based diets. The By-Products section of this website has several videos and articles on storing and utilizing by-product feeds. There is also an Excel® based spreadsheet tool producers can use to calculate storage costs.
When considering purchasing and storage of distillers grain it is important to evaluate and include all of the loss and waste from the time of purchase till the product is actually delivered to and consumed by cattle. Conducting these calculations can give an accurate assessment of the true cost for the pounds of energy and protein being purchased. The Feed Cost Cow-Q-Lator Spreadsheet is a tool that producers can use to calculate this value and compare feeding of distillers grains to other protein and energy sources. When comparing distillers grains to other feed resources, remember that distillers grains has an energy value of 110 – 140% the value of corn in forage based diets depending upon the product used and the rate of inclusion in the diet. (Please see the webinar "Using the Feed Cost Cow-Q-Lator Spreadsheet" for instructions on using the spreadsheet.)
Recent rains in Nebraska have improved the prospects for a great hay crop this year as well as having winter grazing on rangeland and pasture. Consider evaluating now supplementation options to cost effectively meet protein and energy needs for this forage. Purchase and storage of distillers grains this summer for fall and winter use may be a cost effective option.