Ethanol Blog

Strategies for Evaluating Co-products

Cheryl Anderson
By  Cheryl Anderson , DTN Staff Reporter

Minnesota livestock nutritionist Chad Zehnder offered some tips for buying ethanol co-products in an article by Minnesota Farm Guide (…).

Zehnder, a nutritionist for Purina Animal Nutrition LLC, said first farmers need to quit thinking of feedstuffs such as distillers grains as byproducts, which denotes a secondary or incidental product of a manufacturing process. A co-product is a product produced along with another product, he said, and added that distillers grains has becoming a commodity.

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Zehnder said producers also need to think about availability of co-products, not just at the present but into the future to avoid having to change rations. Also, consider the class or type of cattle and how the co-product will affect performance. The consistency of the product should be evaluated also. Zehnder recommended that producers get a sample or nutritional information from their plant and to be aware of sulfur content.

Producers also need to consider freight and moisture content. While wet distillers grain is cheaper, it is heavier and expensive to haul a long distance. Also, producers need to calculate storage and the cost of shrinkage, to avoid losing feed at a time when distillers grains are still relatively high.

Lastly, Zehnder reminded producers to evaluate their current facilities for bunk management and ration mix capabilities.

Cheryl Anderson can be reached at

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