Mix and match coproducts to achieve balanced rations

Jan 29, 2010
by WLJ

With profitability back in the corn refining and ethanol industry, those coproducts destined for livestock feed will be widely available. Wet and dry corn gluten, distillers dried grains, and other products left from the removal of starch will be competing with each other, and all will be competing with shelled corn. If you have livestock to feed, there may be a reason to brush up on the products and their characteristics.

Ethanol can be produced from both the wet and dry corn milling industry since both provide the means to remove the starch component of the corn kernel. But the type of process will determine the characteristics of the remaining product, says Kansas State Economist Daniel O’Brien. His updated research paper is based on November 2009 data from the U.S. Census Bureau and other sources. He says November 2009 saw 90-96 million bushels of corn per month being used in the wet milling industry, a threefold increase in less than three years. But in the dry milling industry, the consumption of corn grew from 105 million bushels per month to 227 million bushels per month.

In the wet milling process, a bushel of corn produces 12.5 pounds of corn gluten feed and 2.5 pounds of corn gluten meal in addition to the 31.5 pounds of starch which is converted to sugars and alcohol. In the period of May 2007 to November 2009, wet corn gluten feed production increased, but production of corn gluten meal and corn gluten feed declined along with corn germ meal. O’Brien says wet corn gluten feed made up 44 percent of the wet corn milling coproduct, with corn gluten at 30 percent, corn germ meal at nearly 16 percent, and corn gluten meal at 10 percent.

1. Corn germ is removed from the kernel and oil is removed from the germ, with corn germ meal remaining. It is 20 percent protein with an amino acid balance good for swine and poultry.

2. After the starch is removed, the balance of the kernel is composed of bran and fiber which becomes corn gluten feed and can be sold wet or dry as a complete feed for dairy, beef, poultry, swine, and pet foods. Dried pellets are 21 percent pro tein. Wet feed is 45 percent dry matter and is perishable in six to 10 days.

3. Corn gluten meal is starch and gluten that is dried to 60 percent protein. Some starch can be removed in other processes.

In the dry milling process, a bushel of corn produces 18 pounds of distillers dried grains with solubles. The ground wet corn will have its starch washed out, with distillers, wet and dried grain and dried grains with solubles remaining. Dry mills produced about 2 billion pounds of distillers wet grains per month in the 30 months prior to November 2009. In the final month of the period, 44 percent of the weight of the coproducts were in the form of distillers wet grain, along with nearly 39 percent distillers dried grain with solubles, 14 percent distillers dried grains.

1. Condensed distillers solubles are 29 percent protein, and range from 25 percent to 50 percent dry matter. It is used as a highly palatable feedstuff to supplement forages. When the feed is subjected to centrifugal force to expel the water, the remaining portion is called wetcake.

2. Distillers dried grains with solubles are a product of the wetcake and the condensed solubles from the stillage process. It contains all of the nutrients in corn except for starch, and has three times as many nutrients as shelled corn. Commonly called DDGS, it is 27 percent protein, 11 percent fat, and 9 percent fiber and can be fed to nearly all livestock species.

O’Brien says the availability of the U.S. Census data on the various feedstuffs from the corn milling industry is valuable in establishing feed value, but could become more available on a regional basis. He says changes in the corn milling industry will impact the continued availability of various feed products.

Livestock feeders who are challenged with profitability have a wide variety of cornbased feeds which are widely available around the Cornbelt and may compete with shelled corn. Of the half dozen different products available at wet and dry corn milling plants, they offer a wide nutrient profile that a producer can tailor with other feeds to produce an economical, yet balanced ration. — WLJ