DDG's in Pigs

29th August 2012

With the increase in global ethanol production, and an increased availability in ethanol process by-products, what impact can these by-products have on reducing pig feed cost?

Source of DDGs

Dried Distillers Grains with solubles (DDGs) are the main by-product available from ethanol production. For each 100 tonne of cereal used in an ethanol plant, about 33 Ė 35% will come back to the livestock industry in the form of DDGs. DDGs may come from either maize (typically US), or wheat (more likely EU).

The Process

Cereal is milled to flour, as would happen with cereal for pig feeding. Water and enzymes are then added and the product cooked to about 100 degrees C. Starch in the cereal is broken down. This resulting wet mash is fermented, and then distilled to remove the ethanol. The residual product is then dried to create DDGs.

DDGs Specifications

Specification will depend on the quality of cereal in, and the processing plant through which the DDGs have been produced.

Other considerations;

  • Colour, should be similar to parent material. If darker, it has been overcooked.
  • Mycotoxin levels - If DDGs come from a wet harvest/summer, mycotoxin levels will also be concentrated up.
  • US DDGs may not be of single plant origin, and note that US merchants almost never segregate maize on a GM/non GM basis.

DDGs in US Diets (The Devenish Experience)

Last year the US turned over 40% of their corn into ethanol. Within a few miles of our plant in Minnesota, there are two large corn ethanol plants, likewise in Iowa, we have a number of corn ethanol plants within a one hourís drive. Ethanol may not make a huge amount of sense, and has raised cereal prices globally, but is here to stay for the foreseeable future.

  • Pigs and Ethanol compete for maize in the US, in that both are in the same geographic areas.
  • DDGs are available locally for livestock feeding across the grain/pig belt.
  • DDGs have been widely adopted as a feedstuff.
  • With current feed price, DDGs are being used more aggressively than in the past.
  • DDGs are valued principally in the US on the basis of their energy levels, and phosphorus content. Fibre content is viewed as high, and will cost in terms of performance. Protein is viewed as neutral to negative.
  • In general in the US, up to 10% DDGs inclusion will not decrease performance. Above this level, however, DFI and ADG tend to decrease on a linear basis.
  • High levelís of DDGs feeding in finishing will have a negative effect on carcase fat composition.

DDGs in Irish Pig Diets

They are not widely available, and not widely adopted. You need to consider:

  • 1. Source (geographic and parent cereal (also with regard to mycotoxins)). Single plant or mixed?
  • 2. Accurate specification of product.
  • 3. Consistency of product.
  • 4. Price of DDGs ? (DDGs should be viewed as a cereal replacement only. Do not be misled by the protein content). If DDGs are available at a good discount to cereal prices, they are worth looking at on paper initially. If DDGS are at a premium to cereal prices, they will not be economically feasible.

If DDGs are offered, please give your Devenish nutritionist a call, and they will be happy to discuss in detail the pros and cons of feeding DDGs to your pigs.

« Back to Press Releases