LETTER: Ethanol, co-products are used, neededI would be happy to answer the questions about ethanol and it’s co-product distillers grains (DDGs) which were asked in your Aug. 25 letter “Ethanol distillation: Have your corn and eat it too?”
By: Chad Blindauer, Mitchell
To the Editor:
I would be happy to answer the questions about ethanol and it’s co-product distillers grains (DDGs) which were asked in your Aug. 25 letter “Ethanol distillation: Have your corn and eat it too?”
First, just to clear up some confusion from that letter, let me state that every bushel of corn that goes to ethanol production in turn produces on average 2.8 gallons of cleanburning ethanol fuel and 17.5 poumds of DDGs. Food and fuel are produced from every bushel which does not vary production yields to either of those co-products. The fuel is made from the starch and the feed comes from the remaining protein, fats, fiber, minerals and vitamins.
Secondly, regardless of the author’s skepticism, DDGs is, in fact, a more efficient feed when compared to corn and soy. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, one ton of DDGs can replace 1.22 tons of corn or soybean meal due to the feed’s higher protein and energy content.
The letter asks, “is this coproduct used or needed?” You won’t have to go far to answer that question, as DDGs are becoming a vital part of livestock rations for feeders of beef, dairy, pork, poultry and aquaculture in South Dakota, the United States and all around the world. DDGs currently rank number two behind corn and ahead of soy when it comes to livestock feed usage in our country. In 2011 alone there were 39 million metric tons of DDGs produced in the United States, which displaced the need for around 1.2 billion bushels of corn for feed.
While there will always be ethanol detractors, I encourage folks to look big picture as ethanol continues to reduce our country’s dependence on foreign oil, create good-paying jobs in rural America, lower gas prices saving the average family around $1,200 per year and provide a high-quality feed source for our livestock.