UNL feedlot research to look at ethanol byproduct
Feedlot Nutrition and Management Specialist
UNL Panhandle Research and Extension Center
University of Nebraska researchers plan to conduct a study this summer at the Panhandle Research Feedlot to determine the effects of including a common ethanol plant byproduct, condensed distillers soluble, in beef feedlot diets.
What they learn will enable feedlot managers to determine the optimum level of distillers solubles in two common types of corn diets, dry-rolled or steam-flaked, to optimize animal performance and profitability.
Six dietary treatments will be evaluated using diets based on dry-rolled or steam-flaked corn with condensed distillers solubles at 0, 15, and 30 percent of diet (dry-matter basis) within each corn processing type. These levels correspond to a diet that has approximately one-third or one-half of the diet as distillers solubles as-is (feed plus water content).
Condensed distillers solubles, often referred to as “syrup,” is one of the two main byproducts during ethanol production. Most ethanol plants that produce wet distillers grains add a portion of the solubles back to the distillers grains before it is fed in cattle diets as wet distillers grains plus solubles.
The remaining solubles that are not added back to the grains are high in moisture content (22-35 percent), fat (16-24 percent), protein (14-24 percent), and sulfur (0.8-1.8 percent). Distillers solubles can replace traditional protein and energy sources in beef cattle diets and add ration condition to increase palatability. But with these greater inclusion levels of distillers solubles and plant-to-plant variability in nutrient concentration, caution is needed to ensure diets are not formulated to exceed recommended sulfur levels (0.40 to 0.46 percent).
Based on research at UNL and experiment stations across the country, feeding wet distillers grains with solubles in a diet based on dry-rolled corn improves animal performance because dietary energy density increases from the added fat (corn oil) in distillers grains. In contrast, when wet distillers grains are fed with a diet based on steam-flaked corn the improvement in animal performance is not as great, because flaked corn has a higher energy content than dry-rolled corn and adding distillers grains does not substantially increase energy density.
Because these differences exist when feeding distillers grains with the two different diets, we hypothesize a similar response will occur when distillers solubles are fed.
If the research tells us the feeding value for distillers solubles is different with dry-rolled or flaked corn, we will follow this experiment to determine the optimum level of distillers solubles in flaked corn diets.
The Panhandle Research and Extension Center is on the World Wide Web at panhandle.unl.edu.
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