After a summer and fall feeding study done with both heifers and steers, Dr. Jim MacDonald, Experiment Station beef nutritionist, said he believes this by-product of ethanol production will be useful in more than just feedlot or dairy operations.
In the next few years, an additional 200 to 600 million gallons of ethanol are expected to be produced in the High Plains, MacDonald said. Production will utilize up to 214 million bushels of corn or sorghum and result in 1.71 million tons of distiller's grains.
"A majority will likely be utilized by feedyards and dairies, but due to the sheer increase in availability, there should be opportunities for cow/calf and stocker operations to use it as well," he said.
The most promising opportunity may be in the situation where lightweight calves are held for a couple of months before they go onto wheat, MacDonald said.
The summer grazing study using heifers averaging 600 pounds compared feeding 3 pounds of dried distiller's grain per head per day, or approximately 0.5 percent of the animal's body weight, to no supplement, MacDonald said.
Results showed an improvement in gain of a quarter of a pound per head per day over the control calves, he said.
In the fall dormant range study, steers weighing approximately 400 pounds were compared at unsupplemented, 1-pound, 2-pound and 3-pound per head per day rates, MacDonald said.
Gain improved from just over one-half pound per head per day at the 1-pound rate to 1.75 pound per head per day at the highest level of supplementation, he said.
"However, the effect was quadratic in that the more you supplemented, the incremental gain was lower," MacDonald said. "In other words, at the 1-pound rate, the efficiency of gain was about 50 percent, where at the highest rate, it was 40 percent."
During the summer trial, the efficiency was only about 10 percent, he said, because both sets of animals were eating well on grass and the supplementation did not make as big a difference..
"So supplementation is more efficient on dormant range, as you would expect," MacDonald said.
The economics of supplementing with distiller's grains will depend on the cost of the product compared to the value of gain, he said.
MacDonald paid $118 per ton for the distiller's grains, which equated to a $12.50 per head investment for $18.80 per head in return over the 63 days the heifers were fed.
As corn prices have risen over the past month or so, so has that of distiller's grain, he said. The same scenario now would have the producer paying $175 per ton, which would result in a $18.96 per head investment for a $16.20 per head return.
"Producers need to run the economics in their situation to see if it is a good fit," he said.
The 56-day fall trial, using the $175 per ton rate for the distiller's grains, resulted in at $16.33 per head investment at the highest level of supplementation, MacDonald said. That investment was worth $68.25 per head.
"The economics would say in the fall or winter scenario, producers will want to supplement at as high levels as possible," he said.
"And even though this research is conducted with stocker calves, I think there is opportunity for cow/calf producers to utilize the distiller's grains as well," MacDonald said. "The supplemental fat has shown to improve reproduction, as well as providing energy to maintain or improve body condition score."
However, potential dangers exist if animals are fed at extreme rates due to fat and sulfur content, he said. Excessive fat can reduce forage digestibility. Also, sulfur can tie up minerals such as copper, creating a deficiency. Excessive sulfur may cause polioencephalomalacia, also known as "brainers."
Producers who use distiller's grains need to be cognizant of all sulfur sources, including water, MacDonald said. If a producer is feeding distiller's grains high in sulfur and also have sulfur in their water, it could be enough to cause trouble.
The supplementation trials were only the first step in MacDonald's study, he said.
Comparisons of distiller's grains to more traditional supplementation and following the calves onto wheat pasture need to done, he said.
"I'm very much enthused about using distiller's grains to produce more beef on a fixed-land base," he said. "The caveat will be to see what previous supplementation does to subsequent wheat grazing gains. We'll have some data on that in the spring."
Dr. Jim MacDonald | EurekAlert!
Raiding the rape field
23.05.2018 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg
New technique reveals details of forest fire recovery
17.05.2018 | DOE/Brookhaven National Laboratory
A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.
The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...
At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.
At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...
There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?
At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
24.05.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
24.05.2018 | Medical Engineering
24.05.2018 | Physics and Astronomy