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USGC: Ethanol co-product cuts feed costs, increases milk income in Chile

The U.S. Grains Council, a non-profit organization charged with building global markets for America's grain, arranges feeding trials to include distillers dried grains with solubles, a co-product of U.S. ethanol production, all over the world. These trials help to determine the cost effectiveness and viability of the product as a competitive feed ingredient in world markets. Most recently, Council Consultant Dr. Randy Shaver, a dairy science professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in collaboration with the Chilean farm supply cooperative, Cooprinsem, orchestrated a Chilean DDGS feeding trial consisting of six selected Chilean dairy farms. The results of this two-season long trial have been conclusive.

The trial was divided into two phases to utilize weather related conditions of the winter and summer seasons. In phase one--winter--all six trial farms showed a reduction in feed costs by an average of $0.17 per cow per day and an increase in milk income of $0.33 per cow per day. This brings the combined value of $0.50 per cow per day.

"The six herds' averaged 167 milking cows per farm," said Shaver. "That's additional revenue of $83.50 per farm per day. In addition, we found the milk protein yield tended to be 73 grams per day higher for the DDGS-fed cows for the farm that completed a split-herd test. This was a 7.4 percent increase over the control group of non DDGS-fed cows."

Phase two of the project--summer--concluded at the end of December. "In the summer months, the cows receive most of their forage from high-quality pasture instead of silage. We still saw a significant increase in milk production for the farm that completed a split-herd test and a decrease in feed costs for most of the herds, however," said Shaver. "This trial was extremely successful in generating favorable results in both reducing feed costs while adding economic value from increased milk production. Trials like this should certainly augment use in Chile and its surrounding area," said Shaver.

In 2008, Chile imported approximately 78,866 metric tons of U.S. DDGS, up 41,378 tons, or almost doubling, from the previous year.

"There is certainly potential in Chile for U.S. DDGS, especially since the trial was conducted locally. This gives the local farmers a chance to see DDGS use firsthand in a trial that utilizes their own climatic conditions. It provides them a reliable source of data they can be more confident in," he said. Shaver will travel to Chile in early March to present the results of the DDGS dairy feeding trial to industry nutritionists, consultants and advisors as well as local farmers to promote the use of U.S. DDGS.



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