In last weeks blog I wrote about the changing economics of ddgs inclusion in swine diets. Corn is now under $6/bu just about everywhere in the upper Midwest, while ddgs prices remain around $180+/ton.
Adding complexity to the diet formulation issue is the changing composition of ddgs. In my case, the mill that makes our research diets has been sourcing ddgs from 4 ethanol plants and identifying the ddgs as ‘high’ or ‘low’ oil product. The ‘high’ product generally runs around 10% fat with the ‘low’ product being around 8% fat.
This week we learned that the plants that were supplying the ‘high’ product will begin installing technology to remove some of the corn oil, meaning their ddgs will look very much like the ‘low’ product. This poses a problem for many users of ddgs since their expectations of nutrient composition and resulting animal performance are based on ‘high’ fat ddgs.
The rapid rate at which ethanol plants have adopted technology to remove corn oil from the ddgs we are buying has been amazing. Last year at this time a majority of the plants were selling ‘high’ oil ddgs and while the ddgs varied quite a bit in nutritional value due to how they were handled during the drying process, etc., we could expect some similarity in fat content.
Today, it’s buyer beware when you buy ddgs. The knowledgeable buyer of ddgs for swine diets now routinely inquires about fat levels and expected changes in the product in coming months. The challenge for producers and their nutritionists is we have limited experience with many of the ddgs products now being delivered from ethanol plants. While we expect the ddgs to be lower in energy for the pig, we really don’t know how much lower. It also appears that ethanol plants will differ in how much oil they remove, although the common value I hear is ddgs will contain around 8% fat.
As we move to the new generation of ddgs from ethanol plants, it appears that a discussion with your nutritionist regarding how to value these new products in swine diets is warranted.