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Pork and DDGS

  • Thursday, 09 June 2016 15:26

We recently participated in the Pork Quality Assurance Plus Certification to learn more about our swine industry agricultural allies. After taking a sunny scenic route over to Hutchinson we sat down with 19 other farmers to be educated on the evolving pork practices shaping the 2016 pork industry.

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The overall theme of the session was on ethical production methods and good production principles. Themes such as proper feed processing protocols, animal well-being and nutrition standards, and providing the right conditions so that pigs maintain good health and physical conditions.

Our experience with the session was rewarding, a veritable treasure trove of information. For anyone interested in the pork industry we highly recommend this certification class to substitute as a Pork 101!

But how does the pork industry overlap with the biofuel industry? Dried Distillers Grains with Solubles or DDGS! As we explained in our DDGS 101 blog, DDGS are a co-product of ethanol production and are used as a high-protein animal feed. It is an efficient alternative to corn and soybean-based animal feed. In 2015, Minnesota produced 3.6 million tons of dried distiller's grains that in turn is used in some of the pork feed you find on swine farms.

DDGS embody and add to the pork ethical principles with their ability to improve the health, nutrition, and quality of the pigs that ingest them. Studies show that the benefits of DDGS diets are positive metabolizable energy content, carcass quality, improved pork fat firmness, bacon sausage and loin quality, increased wean litter rollout, lower mortality and reduced odor.

Jerry Shurson the leading DDGS expert in pork quality from the University of Minnesota recommends diet formulations in swine to include up to 50% DDGs feed for gestation swine, 30% for lactating swine, and 30% DDGs to be mixed in with wean to finish units.

An ADM study found that sows (mother pigs) fed with a DDGS diets weaned more pigs per litter during the second reproductive cycle compared to sows fed the control corn-soybean meal diets.

In addition they saw that swine producers reported less problems with ileitis, hemorrhagic bowel syndrome, and manure odor when 10-20% DDGS was included in grow-finish diets.

Also mentioned in the report was that a study using 1,040 pigs demonstrated that when dietary DDGS inclusion levels increased from 0, 10, 20, to 30%, there was a linear decrease in mortality percentage (6.0, 2.8, 2.4, and 1.6%, respectively), indicating DDGS may have value in a health challenged system.

In conclusion we’d like to thank the Pork Checkoff and Minnesota Pork Producers Association for recommending such a vital class for us to absorb and educate ourselves on the ever expanding and evolving quality pork industry and for showing us the vital connection that DDGS can provide in regards to superior care conditions and results as well as consumer preferences. As ethanol production continues to expand and gain efficiency, ethanol co-products such as DDGS will be more available as a low cost high impact feed alternative in the industry. We look forward to further development and integration of this beneficial grain!