LETTER: Distillers grain not as good as corn for cattleThe reason the use of DDGs in livestock feed has grown dramatically is because corn for food is unaffordable due to the ethanol industry’s consumption.
By: Ron Wieczorek, Mount Vernon
To the Editor:
The reason the use of DDGs in livestock feed has grown dramatically is because corn for food is unaffordable due to the ethanol industry’s consumption.
Livestock farmers cannot afford to feed corn and are relegated to using DDGs as filler to keep the animals from starvation. Ethanol supporters promote the idea the two are one-in-the-same, and that’s not true. What ethanol removes from corn (sugars and starch) is what the animals need. Distillers are the bio-product, or leftover waste, of the ethanol process. It does not provide the nutritional value of corn.
It’s time to stop the promotion of distiller’s grains being an adequate alternative. Animal metabolism can only process a finite amount of protein each day (it is not stored like carbohydrate or fat) and any excess comes out immediately in the urine. Corn by itself is balanced nutrition containing both proteins and carbohydrates in the form of easily digested starches/sugars that will put weight on livestock.
Five billion bushels of corn (40 percent of crop) produced 13.2 billion gallons (10 percent of fuel supply) and only DDGs comparable to 1.547 million bushel of corn were returned to the feed supply. The amount of ethanol (240 percent increase since 2005) to be produced is a mandate, not a choice. Ethanol does little to reduce the large percentage (about 60 percent) of our fuel that’s imported, because ethanol only provides about as much energy as the fossil fuels used to produce it.
By some estimates, gifts to corn ethanol totaled $45 billion since 1980. Corn processing for fuel is not efficient, clean or good for the economy. Our great nation’s priorities have gone nuts. Forty-six million of our nation’s people have gone below the poverty level, one-third of those children. We need to find affordable food now.