Distillers Grain, Cattle Love It

My degree is in agricultural communications, and I wrote a beef book, so I’m fascinated with distillers grains, a byproduct of whiskey and fuel ethanol production. My great grandpa fed distillers grains to his hogs in Ada, Oklahoma, and they’ve long been fed to American cattle.

In 1907, the United States studied distillers grains in cattle production and essentially learned the grains used in distillation were decent replacements for dry grains. After further research, they’ve learned the nutrient composition of distillers grains have three-fold the protein of dry grains. Distillation removes the starch in the corn, and give cattle bitefulls of fat and protein. Yum!

This distillers grain came from Heaven Hill and will be used to feed cattle in Indiana.
This distillers grain came from Heaven Hill and will be used to feed cattle in Indiana.

Distillers grain also gives bourbon producers another revenue stream. The USDA maintains a weekly distillers grain report here, but it’s not all roses for distillers grains.

Prices have dramatically declined in 2014. Distiller grain prices dropped more than $125/ton in the Spring, because China placed a ban on U.S. distillers grains earlier this year due to the GMO traits.

So, it’s okay for China to accept the bourbon but not the distillers grains?

We all have our priorities!



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3 Replies to “Distillers Grain, Cattle Love It”

  1. I thought I read earlier this year that the USDA was trying to ban the use of distillers grain in feed for farm animals in the States as well? It seems so strange, especially with the price of corn going up due to its use in ethanol production…

  2. I’m a huge food advocate and feel very strongly about GMOs. China actually ban all products containing genetically modified ingredients too. They are among 64 countries on this planet that have made the decision ban or label GMOs.

    This will continue to pose a problem for the bourbon industry if distilleries continue to use GM crops. Just like the issues w/ Russia raising questions regarding Kentucky Gentlemen.

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