Ethanol Policy Conflicts with Needs of Swine Industry

A University of Missouri animal scientist has determined that the increase in ethanol production, due to government incentives and high gas prices, is not good news for the swine industry, as corn is a mainstay of hog diets.

“We have developed a pig and poultry industry in this country based on feeding corn and soybean meal,” Gary Allee said. “In my opinion that is about to change because of our current energy policy.” Allee is researching ways to use an ethanol byproduct called DDGS (distiller’s dried grains with solubles) in swine diets. DDGS is a fiber, protein and fat product left after the starch in corn is fermented into ethanol. DDGS supplies are expected to exceed 7 million metric tons this year. About 80 percent of DDGS is used by the beef and dairy industries, but very little in the swine industry. But too much fiber limits the pig’s energy intake and the protein left in the byproduct has too little lysine. Allee said the potential of increased competition for raw corn makes it important that a DDGS be developed that is more swine friendly. Plus, pigs don’t seem to like the distiller’s grain, which accounts for reduced feed intake. So, in reference to ethanol producers who are driving up the price of a bushel of corn, Allee said, “They may outbid us. We have entered into an era that changes the situation because people are talking about corn and soybeans being used as energy. This turns (livestock feeders’) world upside down.”
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