WBIA BLOG

Tuesday Truth #23: Ethanol Does Not Raise the Price of Animal Feed

Categories: General Info

Ethanol derived from corn has been blamed for rising costs of animal feed for livestock farmers. However, this is false. Here are some facts:

Ethanol facilities only utilize the starch portion of the corn kernel, using the protein to produce a high-quality livestock feed called dried distillers grains (DDGs).

An average dry-mill ethanol plant will produce 17 pounds of DDGs from a single bushel of corn, and in 2007-08, the ethanol industry is expected to produce over 25 million short tons of DDGs. [Source: Iowa State University, “Ethanol Coproducts for Cattle,” March 2008; Iowa State University, “Estimated U.S. Dried Distillers Grains with Solubles Production & Use,” updated 11/11/2008]

In addition to having a higher nutritional value, DDGs are also significantly cheaper per ton than corn or soybean meal, two other common livestock feeds. DDGs are currently trading around $125 a ton, compared to approximately $136 for a ton of corn or $260 for a ton of soybean meal. [Source: USDA. DDG (Lawrenceburg, IN); Corn (Cent. Illinois); Soybean Meal (Illinois points)]

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