Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Dried distiller's grains can help produce more beef

Supplemental feeding of dried distiller's grains to cattle can help produce more beef in grazing programs, a Texas Agricultural Experiment Station researcher said.

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!
Further information:

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Forest Management Yields Higher Productivity through Biodiversity
14.10.2016 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Farming with forests
23.09.2016 | University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES)

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

How nanoscience will improve our health and lives in the coming years

27.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

OU-led team discovers rare, newborn tri-star system using ALMA

27.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

'Neighbor maps' reveal the genome's 3-D shape

27.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>