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Report: Substitution of DDGS for Corn, Soybean Meal in the US Feed Complex

10 January 2012

US ethanol production growth has been stimulated partly by higher energy prices and the influence of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (Government Printing Office, 2006 and 2007).

Understanding of the characteristics of DDGS may demonstrate more effectively how they can be substituted into different livestock/poultry diets and the impact this substitution may have on the US feed complex. To compute the overall or aggregate DDGS substitution rate for corn and soybean meal, multiply each type of livestock/poultry’s DDGS substitution rate for corn (energy) and soybean meal (protein) times the market share of DDGS consumption by type of livestock/poultry and then sum each of the products.

This report provides a transparent method to estimate the substitution potential of DDGS for corn (energy) and soybean meal (protein) and the corresponding impact this has upon the US feed complex. First, the feeding characteristics of DDGS are reviewed along with potential inclusion rates for each type of livestock/poultry. Second, potential US DDGS inclusion rates per livestock/poultry are determined. Third, substitution rates of DDGS for corn and soybean meal are determined by type of livestock/poultry. Fourth, DDGS consumption estimates (market share) by crop year are estimated by type of livestock/poultry. Fifth, the aggregate substitution of DDGS for corn and soybean meal is computed by multiplying the market share times the substitution rates between DDGS and corn and soybean meal by type of livestock/poultry. Lastly, impacts on the US feed complex are determined from the substitution of DDGS for corn and soybean meal.

Feeding DDGS to Livestock/Poultry

Feeders that choose to include DDGS into the diets of livestock/poultry need to be aware of DDGS nutritional content and feeding issues related to the use of these nutrients. The amount of DDGS that can be included in the diet of a particular type of livestock/poultry varies by its nutrient requirements and the nutrient availability and cost of alternative diet ingredients.

DDGS Nutritional Content Issues

DDGS are used by the livestock and poultry industries as a source of protein and energy in feed rations. DDGS are considered a mid-protein feed that offers the same or greater energy as corn but contains less protein than soybean meal (table 1). Ruminant animals, such as beef and dairy cattle, can use distillers’ grains nutrients more readily than monogastric animals, such as hogs and poultry. Compared with corn, DDGS are higher in calcium, phosphorus, and sulfur (table 1) so that, depending on the inclusion rate, adding DDGS to an animal’s diet may negate the need for supplemental phosphorus (Tjardes and Wright, 2002). Since DDGS go through a drying process, over-heating may occur and potentially cause a chemical reaction detrimental to DDGS feeding quality. In such cases, some of the carbohydrates and protein in DDGS may become chemically bound, thus making the product indigestible to the animal. Consequently, a lighter colored DDGS may generally be preferable to a darker one that is associated with heat damage.

DDGS can also contain more sulfur than corn, thereby adding significant amounts of sulfur to the diet (Berger and Good, 2007). Sulfuric acid may be used during fermentation of the ethanol feedstock mash for pH adjustment, but that process can increase the sulfur content of the distillers’ grains. If cattle consume more than 0.4 per cent sulfur (dry matter) from feed and water, they may contract polioencephalomalacia. Some feeders add thiamine to reduce the risk of this disorder, but the proper inclusion level of thiamine and the likelihood of it completely eliminating the disorder is not certain . In addition, excessive sulfur interferes with an animal’s ability to absorb copper and its metabolic rate. Thus, in geographic regions with high levels of sulfur in forages and water, feeders may need to reduce the levels of DDGS added to diets.

As mentioned previously, phosphorus levels in DDGS (0.89 per cent) are greater than those in corn (0.25 per cent) (see table 1), so adding DDGS to an animal’s diet may negate the need for phosphorus supplements, which are costly. Phosphorus concentrations may determine inclusion rate in many diets where nutrient management of the waste is a problem. Research is being conducted to develop methods for removing phosphorus from DDGS (Berger and Good, 2007).

The sodium content of DDGS may vary from 0.01 per cent to 0.48 per cent, averaging 0.11 per cent (Shurson and Alghandi, 2008). In comparison, corn contains about 0.02 per cent of sodium. Salt is formed as a result of pH adjustments during processing. Salt contains a large amount of sodium and, if poultry are fed sodium above required levels, the resulting increased water consumption may cause wet litter and dirty eggs. Wet litter can encourage greater bacterial growth, increasing an animal’s susceptibility to intestinal infections.

Mycotoxins — toxic chemical compounds produced by certain fungi—are also a concern for livestock/poultry feeders (USDA/GIPSA, 2006). Mycotoxins also may be associated with corn ear rot diseases and may be pathogenic for animals and humans (Siegel, 2010). If present in corn, mycotoxins become concentrated in DDGS approximately three-fold during the fermentation process . In addition, mycotoxins can be produced during storage if the distillers’ grains are allowed to mold (Whitlow, 2008). The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been responsible for establishing and monitoring acceptable levels of mycotoxins and antibiotics in feedstuffs since 1965 (FDA, 2006). The FDA encourages livestock/poultry feeders to test their feed ingredients, ensuring that mycotoxins do not exceed acceptable levels.

Antibiotics also may be an issue when feeding DDGS. Antibiotics are used occasionally in some ethanol plants to kill unwanted bacteria during the fermentation process. The only antibiotic currently approved for use in ethanol production is virginiamycin (Shurson and Alghandi, 2008). The FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) does not object to using virgin-iamycin in the fermentation phase of alcohol production at 2 to 6 parts per million (ppm) (National Grain and Feed Association, 2009). The CVM also sets a maximum level for distillers’ co-products containing residual levels of virginiamycin of 0.2 to 0.5 ppm. Any residues present may have been deactivated by the ethanol production process, as the antibiotics are exposed to high and low temperatures and a wide pH range. CVM is conducting further studies to determine the implications of feeding DDGS with antibiotic residues (FDA, 2009) . Livestock/poultry feeders are encouraged to test their DDGS to make sure they do not exceed acceptable levels.

Understanding DDGS Nutrient Variability Is Essential

Because DDGS’s nutritional content varies, feeders are urged to use caution before adding them to their animals’ diets (Tjardes and Wright, 2002). Actual nutrient analyses of the coproducts intended for use from the truck or railcar can vary widely for batches from the same plant and for batches from different plants. DDGS nutrient concentrations may vary due to changes in the nutrient content of the corn (a 1 per cent difference in grain content results in approximately a 3 per cent difference in DDGS content) being processed due, in part, to agronomic conditions or corn variety. Additional DDGS nutrient variation may be caused by fermentation and distillation efficiencies, drying processes and temperatures, and/or the amount of condensed distillers’ solubles blended into co-products (Shurson and Alghandi, 2008).

Reducing nutrient variation in DDGS has become a higher priority for ethanol producers as margins tighten and producers count on revenue derived from coproducts (DDGS). Consequently, producers strive to provide more uniform quality DDGS. In addition to sampling the specific load of purchased DDGS, feeders can obtain an idea of the DDGS nutrient content from several different sources, such as ethanol plants (University of Minnesota) or from feed analyses (Dairy One).

In addition to issues of product variability, Mathews and McConnell (2009) discuss ethanol feed coproducts in the diets of cattle (beef and dairy) and hogs. The limitations of these coproducts, such as variable moisture content, product availability, and nutrient excesses or deficiencies, affect how they must be handled and stored, impacting costs to feed buyers.

Potential Inclusion Levels of DDGS, by Type of Livestock/Poultry

The amount of DDGS that can be included in the diet of a particular type of livestock/poultry varies by its nutrient requirements, nutrient availability, and cost of alternative diet ingredients. Nutritionists typically use energy, protein, amino acid, and mineral content in balancing livestock/poultry diets. The optimal choice of commodities to supply these ingredients may change over time with the changing prices of competing feed ingredients, the age of the livestock/poultry, or whether the livestock/poultry is used for breeding or market stock.

Many studies that include DDGS in the diet of a particular type of livestock/ poultry are conducted only on the basis of meeting nutrient requirements, but some may assume the cost of alternative ingredients. In this section we provide a brief review of the literature on potential inclusion levels of DDGS in diets by type of livestock and poultry. Results may vary based on whether data came from university feeding trials, an experimental setting, or from actual feeding levels by industry. Potential inclusion levels are derived based on the following discussion and will be used later in this study’s estimates of potential DDGS feeding by type of livestock/poultry.

Beef Cattle — DDGS are a good source of energy and protein for beef cattle in all phases of production (US Grains Council, 2007). Since most of the starch in corn is converted to ethanol during the fermentation process, the fat and fiber concentrations in DDGS are increased by a factor of three compared with that in corn. DDGS contain high amounts of neutral detergent fiber (NDF) but low amounts of lignin, making DDGS a highly digestible fiber source for cattle that reduces digestive upsets compared with corn. The availability of highly digestible fiber in DDGS also allows them to serve as a partial replacement for forages and concentrates (Schingoethe, 2006). DDGS in beef cattle diets supports inclusion for growing calves, supplementation of grazing and high-roughage diets or low phosphorus diets for beef cows, wintering cows or developing heifers, and fed cattle. DDGS can contribute to lower feed costs, fewer sub-acute acidosis occurrences than from a low-roughage diet, and improved fiber digestion in the rumen (National Corn Growers Association, 2008). Growing and finishing cattle offer the largest potential use of DDGS. Feedlot diets that use DDGS at levels lower than 15-20 per cent of diet dry matter serve as a protein source for the animal; at levels higher than 20 per cent, DDGS serve as an energy source (Erickson et al., 2007).

Finishing cattle have been fed as much as 40 per cent DDGS of diet dry matter as an energy source with excellent growth performance (table 2) (US Grains Council, 2007; Klopfenstein, 2008). This inclusion rate, however, creates an excess of protein and phosphorus and may cause waste disposal issues that impact manure management plans. Feeding DDGS does not change the quality or yield of beef carcasses and has no effect on the taste or other sensory characteristics of beef (US Grains Council, 2007).

Klopfenstein et al. (2008) reports on a meta-analysis where various levels of wet distillers’ grains were fed to feedlot cattle. Results indicate that wet distillers’ grains with solubles produced higher average daily gains and higher feed-to-gain values compared with cattle fed corn-based diets without DDGS. For example, the feeding value of wet distillers’ grains with solubles at a 20-per cent inclusion level was 142 per cent with a decline to 131 per cent at the 40-per cent inclusion level. A similar analysis of dry distillers’ grains with solubles showed a similar positive response but with less feeding value for dry versus wet distillers’ grains. For example, the feeding value of DDGS at a 20 per cent inclusion rate was 123 per cent and at the 40-per cent inclusion rate it declined to 100 per cent. Erickson et al. (2007) reports that the biological optimum inclusion levels for dry distillers’ grains with solubles (DDGS) is 20 per cent for cattle on feed; however, higher levels of DDGS inclusion also provide positive feeding values. For wet distillers’ grains with solubles, he reports biological optimal inclusion levels of 30 to 40 per cent.

Erickson et al. (2005) suggests supplementing protein when finishing cattle diets contain less than 20 per cent DDGS, as recommended by the National Research Council (2000). However, Vander Pol et al. (2005) reported that there was no benefit to supplementing finishing cattle diets with urea when diets contained 10-20 per cent DDGS.

Forage diets usually maintain beef cows and replacement heifers but may require supplemental protein, energy, and phosphorus to achieve expected maintenance and growth levels. Most forage protein is degraded in the rumen, but cattle also need bypass protein (or protein not degraded in the rumen) (Stanton, 1998). DDGS provide a good source of bypass protein. DDGS fed to cattle grazing high-forage diets increases weight gains and reduces forage consumption, thereby, providing producers with an opportunity to extend the grazing period (US Grains Council, 2007). The US Grains Council (2007) reports that inclusion rates of 10-30 per cent yielded beneficial results for beef cows and replacement heifers (table 2). Other potential uses of DDGS include feed for nursing and growing calves that require more protein. The National Corn Growers Association (2008) recommends a 10-20 per cent inclusion rate for other cattle.

USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) survey, Ethanol Co-Products Used for Livestock Feed, provides a 2006 estimate of annual usage and inclusion rate of distillers’ grains for cattle and hogs from Midwestern feeders (USDA/NASS, 2007). This survey reported that beef cattle (cow/calf) were fed an average of 396 pounds of DDGS in 2006 at a 22-per cent inclusion rate (see table 2). Cattle on feed consumed an average of 916 pounds in 2006 at a dry matter inclusion rate of 23 per cent.

Dairy Cattle — DDGS provide a source of protein, fat, phosphorus, and energy for dairy cows. DDGS are a particularly good source of protein for cattle that is undegradable in the rumen (or by-pass protein). DDGS provide high amounts of neutral detergent fiber but offer low amounts of lignin, making them a highly digestible fiber source that reduce digestive upset more effectively than corn. Although they usually replace concentrate ingredients, the highly digestible fiber in DDGS also serves as a partial replacement for forages and concentrates in diets for dairy cattle although they usually replace concentrate ingredients (Shingoethe, 2008). The quality of protein in DDGS is fairly good, but lysine is the first limiting amino acid. (See Shcin-goethe (2008) for further discussion of dairy cattle protein needs and amino acids.) Thus, milk production can sometimes be increased when cows are fed rations containing supplemental lysine and methionine that is protected in the rumen or when DDGS are blended with other high-lysine ingredients. Feeding DDGS to dairy cattle results in milk production as high or higher than when dairy cows are fed rations containing soybean meal as the protein source (US Grains Council, 2007).

DDGS inclusion levels are not the only factor to consider when formulating the dairy cow diet. Other factors that could affect milk production and milk composition when DDGS are added to the diet include the type of forage, the ratio of forage to concentrate, the high oil content of DDGS, and the formulation of diets on an amino acid basis. In addition, the nutrient differences between DDGS and WDGS may affect the cow’s ability to produce milk. DDGS can also be used in diets of dairy calves, heifers, and dry cows. Dry cows were fed about 10 per cent of dry matter and calves 28 per cent. Different levels of DDGS have been fed to dairy heifers along with a blending of other feeds (Schingoethe, 2008).

Milk fat content may decrease if inadequate amounts of forage fiber are fed to dairy cattle. DDGS can be included in dairy cow diets at up to 20 per cent of the ration without decreasing dry matter intake, milk production, and milk fat and protein per centage (see table 2). Inclusion of DDGS at 20-30 per cent also supports milk production equal to or greater than diets with no DDGS; however, milk production from cows fed diets containing WDGS decreases when fed at more than 20 per cent of the diet (US Grains Council, 2007). Thus, dairy producers can feed more than the typical 5-10 per cent that many have been feeding. When feeding DDGS at more than 20 per cent of the ration, however, DDGS lacks a nutritional advantage because such diets may contain excess protein and phosphorus, even though milk production performance is high with inclusion levels greater than 20 per cent (Schingoethe, 2008). NASS survey results suggest that Midwestern dairy cow feeders fed an average of 1,002 pounds of DDGS during 2006 at a dry matter inclusion rate of 8 per cent (USDA/NASS, 2007) (see table 2).

Swine — DDGS can be used in the gestation, lactation, nursery, growing, and finishing diets for swine (Stein, 2008). DDGS can be an economical source of energy, amino acids, and phosphorus for swine. Swine, however, cannot efficiently digest the fiber in DDGS, and the corn oil present in DDGS can potentially affect meat quality. The amount of dicalcium phosphate normally fed can be reduced when feeding DDGS to swine because distillers’ grains have a greater level of digestible phosphorus than corn. According to Stein (2008), DDGS included in the diet may have a positive effect on the health of the swine. For example, the incidence and severity of proliferative ileitis, an inflammation of the lower part of the small intestine common in young pigs, can be reduced by including 10 per cent DDGS in feed rations.

Wilson et al. (2003) shows that DDGS can be fed to gestating sows at an inclusion rate of up to 50 per cent with no negative effects on the animals. DDGS in the diets of gestating sows did not affect lactation feed intake, litter weight gain, and reproduction cycle. Negative effects were not seen in sow gestation weight gain, pigs born alive per litter, litter birth weight, or average pig birth weight for sows fed 0-50 per cent of DDGS during gestation. Stein (2008) reports of research results that feeding DDGS to lactating sows at diet inclusion rates from 15 per cent to 30 per cent resulted in no negative effects. Thus, DDGS can be included in diets of gestating sows at inclusion rates of up to 50 per cent and in diets of lactating sows at inclusion rates of up to 30 per cent if diets are formulated based on concentrations of digestible energy, amino acids, and phosphorus (Stein, 2008).

Stein (2008) reports the results of eight experiments of DDGS inclusion in nursery pigs. From the day of weaning, a DDGS inclusion rate of 7.5 per cent could be included in the diet without negative effects on the animals. Other findings suggest that an inclusion rate of up to 25 per cent may be included in the diet during the initial 2 weeks after weaning and an inclusion rate of up to 30 per cent may be used 2-3 weeks after weaning with no negative effects on pig performance.

Stein (2008) also reports on research results from feeding DDGS to grow-finish hogs. Generally, there was no change in performance by including DDGS in the diets of grow-finish hogs but there were experiments where reduced performance was observed. Stein (2008) reports of many experiments where DDGS can be included in diets to grow-finish hogs at up to 30 per cent without negatively affecting hog performance. For experiments with reduced performance, a linear reduction in pig performance was reported when hogs were fed diets including 10, 20, and 30 per cent DDGS. Reduced performance in these cases may have been due to reduced feed intake as a result of reduced DDGS quality or palatability. If DDGS had low lysine digestibility, pig performance could decline because lysine limits protein formation. Also, excessive protein intake could lead to reduced performance. If this were the case, it is impossible to determine if the performance decline was due to DDGS in the diet or increased crude protein. Including crystalline lysine or tryptophan in hog diets may reduce the negative impact of increasing crude protein (Stein, 2007).

Effects of DDGS upon pig carcass composition and quality are mixed. Stein’s (2008) summary of research results found a reduced dressing per centage from grow-finish hogs fed DDGS. These results may be due to increased fiber concentrations in DDGS-containing diets leading to increased intestinal tissue weight and reduced dressing per centage. While DDGS quality or diet formulation may account for these differences, further research is required to determine why the dressing per centage was reduced for some experiments. In approximately half of the experiments, however, the dressing per centage remained the same.

Stein’s (2008) summary of research results also indicates that backfat thickness, lean meat per centage, and loin depth were not affected by the inclusion of corn DDGS in hog finishing diets. Some research results did show a decrease in swine belly thickness for some but not all experiments. Other findings showed that including DDGS in diets reduced swine belly firmness and increased iodine values of carcass fat (Stein, 2008). The increased iodine values of carcass fat may be due to the large quantities of unsaturated lipids present in corn DDGS, whereby the lipids are incorporated into carcass fat without hydrogenation. Increased unsaturated fatty acids reduce the firmness of the fat and increase the iodine values.

An experiment by White et al. (2007) demonstrated that the inclusion of 1 per cent of conjugated linoleic acid in DDGS-containing diets during the 10 days prior to slaughter may reduce iodine values and could be used to mitigate soft fat in DDGS-fed hogs. Additional research shows that if DDGS are removed from diets in the 3-4 weeks prior to slaughter, acceptable iodine values are reported in pigs fed DDGS during early stages of growth (Hill et al., 2008; Xu et al., 2008).

The US Grains Council (2007) recommends up to 30 per cent inclusion of DDGS for nursery pigs. Due to concerns of reduced belly firmness and soft pork fat at higher levels of DDGS inclusion, however, the council recommends a 20-per cent inclusion level for grower-finisher and developing gilts. For sows, feeders can include up to 50 per cent of DDGS to gestation diets and 20 per cent to lactation diets. We assumed that all diets were formulated on a digestible amino acid and available phosphorus basis. Stein (2008) recommends that approximately 30 per cent of DDGS can be included in diets fed to lactating sows, weanling pigs, and grow-finish pigs, and 50 per cent can be included in gestating sow diets, assuming average or above-average-quality DDGS are used. USDA, NASS survey results from 2006 provide annual average DDGS consumption rates (60 pounds per head) and the dry matter inclusion per centage (10 per cent) for hog diets (USDA/ NASS, 2007).

Poultry — Corn DDGS can contribute energy, protein, and phosphorus to poultry diets (Bregendahl, 2008). DDGS inclusion in poultry diets initially was set at a low level due to high fiber, poor amino acid quality, and low energy concentration. Bregendahl (2008) reports that energy and amino acid levels in DDGS, however, are higher than indicated by the National Research Council (1994). The phosphorus bioavailability found in DDGS, an economic asset, is higher than in corn and can be used to replace some supplemental phosphorus sources in the diet. Phosphorus is the third most expensive ingredient in poultry rations. Feeding DDGS to poultry may increase sodium intake, and overall sodium intake needs to be monitored in the diets for poultry. High sodium levels cause increased water consump- tion, potentially causing wet liter, dirty eggs, and susceptibility to intestinal infections (Bregendahl, 2008). Xanthophyll—a carotenoid pigment found in corn—is also found in corn DDGS and has been shown to improve desired egg yolk color (more yellow or red) when fed to laying hens and to increase the yellow skin color of broilers (US Grains Council, 2007).

Layers — Lumpkins et al. (2005) reported that feeding 0-15 per cent corn DDGS to laying hens did not affect egg production, egg weight, feed consumption, or feed utilization. Lumpkins et al. (2005) recommended feeding laying hens DDGS at no more than 10-12 per cent. Roberson et al. (2005) conducted two experiments of diets that contained 0-15 per cent of DDGS and focused on the effects on egg production or yolk color. Roberson et al. (2005) found that including 15 per cent of DDGS in the diet did not affect egg production but, due to variable research results, recommended less than 15 per cent in the laying hen diet. Both experiments used diets formulated using total amino acids. Shurson et al. (2003b) conducted a commercial layer feeding trial in Jalisco, Mexico, to evaluate effects on egg production and egg quality by including 10 per cent or more of DDGS into the layers’ diet under practical feeding conditions. Shurson concluded that including 10 per cent DDGS in the layers’ diet can significantly improve egg production and egg yolk color.

Since these experiments, Bregendahl (2008) reported that the layer industry in the US Midwest has used diets containing 5-20 per cent DDGS with an average of 9 per cent. These inclusion rates are affected by economics, as many commercial diets are based on a least-cost basis where the relative prices of all competing ingredients are considered. Furthermore, Bregendahl (2008) reported that the US Midwest laying-hen industry fed DDGS to pullets at the same levels as routinely fed to laying hens, or up to about 15 per cent.

Broilers — Lumpkins et al. (2004) focused on feeding inclusion rates of 0, 6, 12, and 18 per cent DDGS to young broiler chicks. Body weight and feed utilization were not affected at up to 12 per cent DDGS, but gain and feed utilization were reduced when broilers were fed at an inclusion rate of 18 per cent, most likely due to an amino acid deficiency in the starter diet. Due to the high fiber content and low amino acid digestibility of DDGS, feeding high levels (25-30 per cent) of DDGS to starter broilers is not recommended. Based on this study, researchers recommended a 6-per cent inclusion rate of DDGS in starter diets, but grow-finish diets could contain 12-15 per cent DDGS. Lumpkin’s et al. (2004) study results were confirmed by feeding trials sponsored by the US Grains Council (2007) and conducted in Taiwan. These feeding trials found that growth performance can be maintained when including 10 per cent DDGS in the diets of starter, grower, and finisher broiler diets. Results from the Lumpkins et al. (2004) study were obtained from an experiment based on a total amino acid basis. The reduced growth performance found at high levels of DDGS inclusion may be due to amino acid deficiencies (such as lysine or arginine) because of the low amino acid digestibility of DGGS.

Wang et al. (2007a) evaluated the use of constant or increasing levels of DDGS in diets for broilers. Diets were formulated on digestible amino acid basis. Diets containing 15 per cent DDGS could be fed throughout the feeding period with no adverse effects on live performance or carcass composition. Inclusion of 30 per cent DDGS in the broiler diet during the starter and grower periods, however, reduced body weight, elevated feed conversion, and generally reduced breast meat yield, compared with results found for broilers fed 15 per cent DDGS or broilers fed the control diet.

In another study, Wang et al. (2007b) evaluated the effects of moderate to high levels of DDGS in broiler diets and the effects of rapid and multiple changes in the level of DDGS inclusion in the diet during the growth period. Diets ranged from 0 to 30 per cent DDGS inclusion and were formulated based on digestible amino acids. Broilers fed diets containing 15 per cent DDGS did not differ from the control diet in terms of live performance or carcass characteristics, whether fed on a continuous basis or whether alternated weekly between a 0-15 per cent inclusion rate of DDGS. Broilers fed a continuous diet with 30 per cent DDGS inclusion experienced significant reductions in body weight, feed intake, and breast meat yield. Broilers fed 0-30 per cent DDGS inclusion rates alternating on a weekly basis experienced live performance at about half that of broilers fed diets with inclusion rates of 0-30 per cent DDGS continuously and similar to those fed 15-per cent inclusion rate on a constant basis, although breast meat yield in the latter case tended to decline. Study results reflect the effective use of diets with 15 per cent DDGS inclusion rates and showed that the abrupt removal of this level of DDGS did not adversely affect broiler performance.

Turkeys — Noll (2004) fed turkey toms diets up to 12 per cent DDGS during the grower-finisher period and found no difference in body weight gain and feed conversion compared with turkeys fed the control corn-soybean meal diet. Also, the diets had no negative effects on breast meat yield. Roberson (2003) reported that DDGS could be included in turkey diets at the 10 per cent level without affecting body weight gain or feed conversion of the turkeys, suggesting that DDGS can successfully be included at a 10 per cent level for the grow-finish diets.

The US Grains Council (2007) recommended maximum dietary inclusion levels for DDGS at 10 per cent for broilers and turkeys and 15 per cent for layers. The council added, however, that higher levels of DDGS can be used successfully with appropriate diet formulation adjustments for energy and amino acids. It further mentioned that diet formulation with DDGS should use digestible amino acid values, especially for lysine, methionine, cystine, and threonine, and minimum acceptable levels for tryptophan and arginine due to the second limiting nature of these amino acids in DDGS protein. Bregendahl (2008) concludes that DDGS can be fed to broilers, turkeys, and laying hens at the 15 per cent inclusion level or higher, when diets are formulated on a digestible-amino-acid basis. He recommends that younger broilers should receive lower inclusion levels, but inclusion levels should be increased as the broiler matures.

The USDA, NASS survey did not report on DDGS fed to poultry.

January 2012

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