Tuesday, March 20th, 2007
By Nancy Allen
Local program set on feeding distillers' grain to cattle
  Current and proposed increases in ethanol production have significantly increased the cost of corn for feed on Ohio dairy farms and the local area is no exception.
On March 26 from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Maria Stein American Legion, the OSU Extension will hold a program for dairy farmers on feeding distillers' grains (DGs) to cattle. DGs, a byproduct of ethanol production, can be a less expensive substitute for shelled corn.
The event is being sponsored by the Auglaize County OSU Extension.
The program is designed to increase farmers' awareness of the nutritional value of DGs, feeding guidelines for growing, lactating and dry animals, and the storage and economic considerations associated with feeding DGs to livestock.
The market price for corn has doubled nationwide during the last two years, mostly as a result of the increasing demand for corn for ethanol. Consequently, feed prices also have risen.
Mercer County OSU Extension agent Todd Mangen said feeding DDGs likely will become more common as ethanol plants start production.
"I think it's going to become more common because it will become a lot more readily available with more ethanol plants," Mangen said. "They're going to take corn and they're going to have a byproduct that is less expensive than shelled corn or other feed additives."
Ground was broken late last year for an ethanol plant on state Route 571 near Greenville in Darke County and a group of Mercer County farmers has proposed to build one near Celina.
Mangen said the main reason the extension decided to present the program was due to inquiries from dairy farmers looking for a less expensive alternative, he said.
"There is definitely talk about it (high feed costs). I've had people ask me about rations so they can figure out if it is cost effective to feed DGs," he said.
The program in Maria Stein will kick off with an introduction to distillers grains issues, which will include an overview of distilling, processing, expected production of DGs and trends.
Following is a list of presenters and the four topic areas they will discuss:
Nutritional Composition and variation in composition: Bill Weiss, an extension specialist on dairy nutrition and forages will discuss the concentration of nutrients in DGs, the variation within and among distilleries, economic/production consequences of variation and wet versus dry composition.
Feeding guidelines for dairy cows, heifers, dry cows: Maurice Eastridge, an extension specialist on dairy nutrition, will discuss how much DGs can be fed and in what types of diets it works best, sample diets, phosphorous and environmental issues.
Storage of wet distiller's grain: Bill Weiss will discuss how to store wet distillers' grain and the expected shrink losses associated with storage.
Economics: Diane Shoemaker, an extension dairy specialist, will discuss corn market implications on overall feed costs and how DDG costs compare to other feeds such as sesame and others.
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