OPINION: Critic of DDG wrongEthanol and distillers grains help to make most of every bushel.
By: CHAD BLINDAUER, Guest columnist
As a farmer and cattle feeder, I felt obligated to write this today to clear up the continued falsities being produced from the author of “Distillers grain not as good as corn for cattle,” as he completely misses the feed bunk with his mess of misinformation.
Ethanol opponents continue to circulate inaccurate data while ignoring modern techniques and efficiencies that the industry uses today.
One out of every 3 bushels used to produce ethanol comes back as the co-product distillers dried grain, a feed that is demanded around the world, and its increased usage has nothing to do with its price.
DDGs have enhanced my feeding operation and are tremendously more efficient than regular corn.
In fact, the protein from one ton of DDGs equals 1.22 tons of corn and soybean meal, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
That increased efficiency lessens the need for corn as a livestock feed.
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.
And by using the distillers grain, we free up more acres for soybeans and wheat because less alfalfa is required to feed our cattle. This efficient and quality protein source mixed with other starch rations like CRP hay and straw, which is typically used as bedding, has proven again and again to provide maximum gains in livestock.
The idea that farmers are over-feeding distillers to their cattle is absurd. Livestock feeders have their rations analyzed and tested to ensure their animals have a quality diet and that resources are not being wasted.
Corn ethanol as a fuel has brought our country miles ahead in terms of becoming more energy independent. Ethanol has reduced imported oil’s share of our domestic consumption by 15 percent in the past six years.
In fact, in 2011 alone, ethanol replaced the need for imported oil by 485 million barrels.
That’s more than what America bought from Russia, Iraq and Kuwait combined in 2010.
Regardless of the author’s statements, ethanol is good for both the environment and the economy. Ethanol production in South Dakota has produced more than 900 good-paying jobs and new tax revenues.
We also breathe a little better as the renewable fuel produces 52 percent fewer greenhouse gases when compared to conventional gasoline.
The significance of ethanol in our energy supply and the feeding efficiency of distillers grain help our farmers and consumers alike get the most out of every bushel.