The Potential for Corn and the Animal Ag Sector Through Next-Generation DDGS

April 5, 2021

The Potential for Corn and the Animal Ag Sector Through Next-Generation DDGS

Apr 5, 2021

Key Issues:EthanolAnimal Agriculture

Author: Julie Busse

Opportunities for new corn fractionation technologies at dry mills create value by further separating out the various components of corn to allow differential utilization of the subsequent product streams. Feed rations and specific ingredients for animals can be optimized by separating corn into its most valuable components.


Dried Distillers Grains with Solubles (DDGs) are a co-product of the ethanol production process and used 1.075 billion bushels of corn in 2020. DDGs are a valuable feed ingredient for cattle, swine, poultry, and aquaculture as they are rich in the protein, fat, minerals, yeast, and vitamin that animals need.


DDGs were never initially engineered, as they were an accidental discovery derived from the ethanol manufacturing process. As these next generation DDGs products become increasingly competitive in their nutritional composition, ethanol manufacturers have the opportunity to diversify their portfolio, plugging into newly created revenue sources. If an ethanol plant is experiencing a lull in liquid fuel demand, they could offset this loss or risk by continuing to produce specialized feed products for livestock, poultry and aquaculture producers as well as the pet food industry. This heightened level of confidence and corn demand consistency at a local ethanol plant could translate to additional dollars back on the farm. 

Cattle are a very important customer of DDGs, accounting for nearly 80 percent of consumption, with 50 percent attributed to beef cattle and 30 percent attributed to dairy cattle. Approximately 40 million metric tons of DDGs are produced annually. DDGs are nutritionist tested and farmer approved. “We use modified distillers in our grower and finisher diets,” said Clark Price, a corn grower and cattle producer from Washburn, North Dakota. “Depending on the price of the product, we use it as an energy source first, which at 20-to-40 percent in the ration, provides us with all of the protein requirements also. The modified distillers also work as a ration conditioner which binds the ration together and eliminates cattle sorting as well as a rumen conditioner due to its bypass protein.”

To learn more about meeting the nutritional needs of the animal ag industry, visit the following one-pagers here:


Evolution of DDGS and the Industry